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LA SUA FEDE
Interviewed by Rebecca Andrade
Completed under the auspices
Oral History Program
University of California
Copyright (c) 19 82
The Regents of the University of California
This manuscript is hereby made available for research
purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript,
including the right to publication, are reserved to the
University Library of the University of California at
Los Angeles. No part of the manuscript may be quoted
for publication without the written permission of the
University Librarian of the University of California
at Los Angeles.
Interview History vm
TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (January 18, 1981) 1
Alfredo Forti's woolen mills — Siblings — Studying
many languages — The family moves from Prato
to Florence, Italy — The geographic origins
of the Jews of Italy — The role of Jewish
traditions in the family — World War I hospital
work — Musical education — Private lessons in
literature — Meeting Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
socially — Mario's family background — Looking
at childhood photographs — Letter from a
colleague of Mario — Two singers: Memmi
Strozzi and Madeleine Grey.
TAPE NUMBER: I, Side Two (January 18, 1981) 20
Derivation of the name Castelnuovo-Tedesco —
Family photos — Mario's early inclination
toward music — Studying in Florence with
Ildebrando Pizzetti — Marriage — Singing
Mario's songs and those of Debussy.
TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (April 25, 1981) 31
Florence: the music and fine arts
community — Friendships with Igor
Stravinsky, Jascha Heifetz, and Arturo
Toscanini — Mario's working habits —
Early married life — Birth of sons,
Pietro and Lorenzo — Their upbringing,
religious training, and musical
education — A granddaughter studies piano.
TAPE NUMBER: II, Side Two (May 9, 1981)
The coming of fascism — Emigration from
Italy with the help of Toscanini,
Heifetz, and Gregor Piatigorsky —
Performance of Mario's music prohibited
by the Fascists — The Jews hidden in
convents by anti-Fascist priests — The
situation rapidly deteriorates for
Italian Jews after the Rome-Berlin
Axis Pact — Fate of the family —
Concertizing in America as a livelihood
— Amelia Rosselli's tragic life —
Settling in Larchmont, New York —
Impressions of the voyage to
America — Aldo Bruzzichelli.
TAPE NUMBER: III, Side One (June 13, 1981) 67
Initial impressions of New York — A
safe life for emigres in New York—
Moving to California — Music for the
movies — Teaching, working freelance
for the studios, and composing for
himself--Well-known and not so
well-known pupils — Relative lack of
classical music performances in Los
Angeles—American reception of Mario's
music — The decline of vocal chamber music
— Friends among the Italian anti-Fascists .
TAPE NUMBER: III, Side Two (June 20, 1981) 86
Pizzetti's influence on Mario — The relation
of Mario's music to that of seminal, early
twentieth-century composers—Music for
voice and overtures for Shakespeare's plays
--Mario's development in the classical musical
tradition — An excerpt from Mario's
autobiography-- "Modern life spoils things"
--Becoming American citizens — The Castelnuovo-
Tedesco Society— Current performances —
Requests for manuscripts.
One of the most treasured experiences of my life-
time has been the privilege of knowing and working with
the noted Italian-American composer Mario Castelnuovo-
Tedesco. Not only was he one of the gentlest, kindest,
and most generous persons I have ever known he was also the
most brilliant and learned. Easily conversant in more than
a half dozen languages, he was intimately acquainted
with all the major works of literature in their original
languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French,
English, and German. He knew the masterpieces of Western
art — oils, frescos, etchings, mosaics, sculpture, and drawings
— and could describe in detail the galleries, churches,
and museums in which they could be found. And, of course,
his knowledge of music was profound. He knew it as a
practicing musician, not as a musicologist, and he added
some masterpieces of his own to its literature. What a
joy, what a delight, what an experience to be able to
discuss with the maestro these great artistic monuments of
That Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a well-organized and
highly methodical person, no one who knew him would deny.
The maestro always was well aware before he set pen to paper
the form and structure that a new work would take; clear in
his mind were the melodic lines, the harmonies, and little
canons that could be developed out of the thematic
material (for almost all works contain at least one canonical
section.) Even the orchestral and vocal timbres were
worked out in thought before he started the mechanical
process of writing out the music on paper. Frequently
Castelnuovo-Tedesco set time frames for the progress of
larger works, establishing (and keeping!) dates by which
certain acts or movements would be completed. What an
inspiration to watch him working away directly with India
ink on ozlid master papers at his composer's table (an old
drafting table tilted at a convenient angle) placed squarely
in front of the large, arched window in the living room of
his single-storied, Spanish-style home in Beverly Hills.
That Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s music is not performed more
frequently today is one of the tragedies of the age, for
his works are filled with excitement, originality, and beauty:
melodies that soar and sing, rhythms that are energetic and
varied, harmonies that are at once rich and modern. "I deeply
admire the talent of that noble composer," Andres Segovia once
wrote me about Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, "[a composer] who,
in a different epoque , not so convulsed as this, should have
been well known throughout the musical world."
It is thus an honor for me to pen these few humble lines
of introduction to the all-important oral biography of my
most treasured friend, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
— Nick Rossi, August 1982
INTERVIEWER: Rebecca Andrade, assistant editor, Oral
History Program, UCLA.
TIME AND SETTING OF INTERVIEW:
Place : Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s Beverly Hills,
Dates : January 18, April 25, May 9, June 13 and
Time of day, length of sessions, and total number
of recording hours : These midday sessions lasted
from thirty minutes to one hour. A total of three
and a half hours of conversation was recorded.
Persons present during interview : Castelnuovo-
Tedesco and Andrade. Lorenzo Castelnuovo-Tedesco,
Castelnuovo-Tedesco 's younger son, was present during
some of the early sessions.
CONDUCT OF INTERVIEW:
The purpose of this oral history was to gather material
on the lives of Clara Castelnuovo-Tedesco and her late
husband, the composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. By
way of preparation the interviewer chatted with
associates of the composer in the Los Angeles music
community and studied standard library references,
such as David Ewen ' s The New Book of Modern Composers
and the Encyclopedia Judaica .
The approach taken was roughly chronological, covering
the early years of Clara and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco,
their marriage, their emigration from Italy to the
United States, and his music.
Lorenzo Castelnuovo-Tedesco was helpful in translating
some of the interviewer's questions into Italian and
some of his mother's responses into English. He
provided some biographical material concerning his
father as well.
Transcription of the tapes and the initial audit
editing were done by the interviewer. She checked
the transcript against the original tape recordings,
editing for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling
and verifying proper nouns. Words and phrases inserted
at the time of editing have been bracketed. Castelnuovo-
Tedesco reviewed and approved the edited transcript.
She provided the Italian spellings of some names
mentioned and answered the editor's queries. At her
request, an excerpt from her husband's autobiography
was included in the volume.
Mitch Tuchman, senior editor, reviewed the edited
transcript. Intrigued by the appearance of certain
Spanish phrases, such as ^' como se dice ? and ^ como se
llama ? , he checked the original tape recordings.
There he found that the phrases transcribed in Spanish
(and subsequently rendered in Italian by Castelnuovo-
Tedesco in her review) had been recorded in Italian
as had other Italian words and phrases, which had been
deleted during the original transcription. Some
English language questions and responses had also been
deleted. With the aid of Sylvia Tidwell, an assistant
editor with a knowledge of Italian, all of this material
was restored; the entire manuscript was then reedited.
At Castelnuovo-Tedesco 's request, Nick Rossi wrote the
introduction. Other front matter and the index
were prepared by Oral History Program staff.
The original tape recordings and edited transcript of
the interview are in the university archives and are
available under the regulations governing the use of
permanent, noncurrent records of the university.
Records relating to the interview are located in the
office of the Oral History Program.
TAPE ONE: SIDE ONE
JANUARY 18, 1981
ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco , we were talking about
your early years in Italy. You were born in the town of
Prato. When were you born?
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: I was born March 22, 189 5. My
father's name was Alfredo Forti.
ANDRADE: Your mother's name?
CASTELNUOVO: My mother's name was Giuseppina Vivanti ,
born in Senigaglia, Marche.
ANDRADE: You were telling me earlier about your father
and your grandfather, about their factory. Could you
discuss that again, the wool factory that they had in
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. My father's father was a very gifted
man. He founded a woolen factory together with his brother
Giulio, and they became very well and very famous with this.
They constructed some plaids of all kinds, so beautiful.
Then when they were made, they were put all together and
sent to certain agents in England and put some—
CASTELNUOVO: — [inaudible]
LORENZO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Labels.
CASTELNUOVO: Labels, and then sent all over the world.
You know, at that time, they didn't have electricity. They
didn't have electricity at the time; so the factory was
built near the river Bisenzio, which was going down
from the Apennines to Prato. I remember very well this
little factory, which became then bigger and bigger. And
it was the water of the river — I don't know how--which made
the machines run.
ANDRADE : I see. It generated power.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, gave the power to the machines to work.
I remember this very well. We were very little children,
and we were walking around sometimes, once in a while.
We were frightened to walk around those machines, because
they were very-- The river was called Bisenzio.
ANDRADE: The factory was quite successful? You said your
grandfather was quite successful.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Si. They were quite successful. As a
matter of fact, when my father and [his] younger [brother]
took on the factory, they were already wealthy and very
gifted, and they went on. Then they built another factory
closer to — because at that time they started to have
electricity and so forth--so closer to Prato. This little
factory by the river was still working--I don't know — in
different ways. But they built another factory, much bigger,
in the plain of Prato, closer to Prato. And this went on
until my father [died].
ANDRADE: When did your father join the business? When he
was a young man?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he must have. Yes, yes.
ANDRADE : He knew he was going to join the business?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, he started early, no doubt. But at
first, of course, he had been to school. He was very
gifted and loved literature and poetry very much. I
remember during vacation he was teaching us with some
poetry and reading us Italian classics and so forth. This
I remember very well. We were very young.
ANDRADE: And your mother?
CASTELNUOVO: My mother was also listening. So she was
reading also. My mother also had some brothers. One was
very gifted as a doctor. He was a good doctor and became
a psychiatrist at the last — Well, at that time psychiatry
didn't exist much; it was when Freud came out. But he was
a kind of pupil, let's say. This was one of my mother's
ANDRADE: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, many, many, many.
ANDRADE: Did you? Who were they? How many were there?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I had a sister, older sister than [me],
who married also a musician, composer, very gifted. He was
a removed cousin from Bologna. He married my oldest sister.
ANDRADE: What was your sister's name?
ANDRADE : And what was her husband's name?
CASTELNUOVO: The name, Liuzzi. The husband's name was
Fernando Liuzzi. He was very gifted; he was teaching first
in Bologna and then also at the conservatory in Florence
for many years. When we were sent away, he came also, about
the time we came to America. He came also to New York. He
was already teaching at some university in New York.
LORENZO: I think it was Columbia.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He was not a strong man. And then he
had [a heart] attack, and he had to go back, and then he
died too early. So this was my oldest sister.
Then I had two brothers, Giorgio and Aldo--very nice,
very gifted, especially Aldo. And this sister--you have
seen the picture--Nella, she was a painter. We were six.
And then the youngest one was Piera, who married also a
doctor from Ferrara, Italy. They came to America, and
she's still in Boston. She's still in Boston. Her husband
died two years ago only. He was a doctor. She lives in
Boston; we talk over the phone sometimes. She's the youngest
of all of these six children.
ANDRADE: So you were the fifth of six children? You were
the fifth child?
CASTELNUOVO: I was the second. My sister Paola [was] the
oldest, and I was the second — Clara. Then Giorgio, Nella,
Aldo. And Piera is the one who is in Boston. She's still
there; we speak often.
ANDRADE : You were telling me about your education as a
young girl. How old were you when you started elementary
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I had a lady — a teacher, a maestra —
at home for two years. Then the third grade, I went to
school. I had a very gifted old woman. I don't remember
the name, but I still remember her. I had third and fourth
grade in school in Prato. Elementary school, you know.
Then after this, I went to ginnasio —classic ginnasio —
at the Collegio Cicognini in Italy, in Prato. And then
there I had two years of Collegio Cicognini, first and
second ginnasio, where you start Latin right away — Italian,
of course, literature, all kinds, and Latin. You learned
the classic Latin.
And then after this, we moved to Florence. And in
Florence I had all the other years of ginnasio with Latin
and Greek; that's what I learned. And then privately I
learned French and English—not much German, because when
I started to learn German the First World War started,
and then I gave it away.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, because I had no time. When the
First World War came, we didn't like to speak German.
Anyhow, we didn't have time. I had to work. I remember
working in hospital when the war started in 1914. I was
eighteen years old or whatever. French you also
studied in school. And then I started reading right away
French literature very much, of course. We were very close
to all the classics and what was modern literature, French.
French and English, I read it all.
ANDRADE: Did your family know English?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, not much.
ANDRADE: Why did your family move from Prato to Florence?
CASTELNUOVO: We moved because my father thought that it
would be nicer for us to live in a bigger city and have
more ways to approach society, people. I mean, in a big
city like Florence you could see and learn more and know
more people, and there were theaters and concerts. Prato
was a small city, more--I don't know what to say.
ANDRADE: How old were you when you moved?
CASTELNUOVO: When we moved, I was — [to Lorenzo] Aiuta me .
ANDRADE: But you were not finished with school yet.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, no. I was thirteen. Nel novecento —
ANDRADE: Oh, very young. So you finished your schooling
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes.
LORENZO: Then it must have been about 190 8.
ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco, what about the business?
Did your father give up the business in Prato when he moved
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, no. We moved to Via Masaccio. He
rented a nice apartment in a villa, second floor. There
were no cars at the time; so he had a carriage, man with
a carriage, taking him to the train station, center
station. And with the train [he went] to Prato every
morning and came back in the evening every day.
Then he died early. He was working very hard. It
must have been just before the world war. The war started
1914, right? La guerra mondiale . [My father died] just
before that, about a few months or so. Oh, it was a terrible
time, because my father passed away, and then the war started.
ANDRADE: How old was he when he died?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, I don't know. Too young. I don't know
exactly. He must have been over fifty, but not much over
fifty. He was so young.
ANDRADE: We were talking earlier about the Jewish population
in Italy, and you were saying it only constituted about
1 percent in Italy.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, that's what I say, about, you know.
[About 100,000 people. C.C.-T.]
ANDRADE: I think now would be a good time to talk about
the different Jewish groups in Italy that you have in your
notes there. You were talking about the three groups.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, that's what I have [in my notes]. The
Jewish people in Italy were a small minority. (Is that
what I said? About 1 percent?) And they could be
divided in three groups. The first one was in Italy since
the time of the Roman Empire, and they were settled down
in the city of Rome, the states of Umbria and Marche.
Marche is the country that goes to the Adriatic Sea, the
other from Rome. And this was the Stato Pontif icio ,
what was called the stato of the popes.
The second one had come from Spain around 1492, when
there had been the great — come si dice " cacciata " ["expul-
LORENZO: Inquisition, purge.
CASTELNUOVO: No, cacciata. They were sent out from Spain,
sent away from Spain. And they arrived at the cosa c'e porto
di Livorno ?
LORENZO: The port of Leghorn.
CASTELNUOVO: Leghorn, in Tuscany, you know, by the sea.
Livorno, which was a porto franco , open port. And then
they moved around Tuscany, in the state of the granduca di
Toscana . And there they are still Ebrei Sefardici .
The third group, probably of origin Austro-Polacco ,
Polish from Austria. They spread in the region of Lombardo-
Veneto, Lombardia and Veneto. And they are Ebrei Ashkenazy .
ANDRADE: And your father and your husband's father were from
the second group, is that right?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes. Both of our fathers — my father
and Mario's father--were [of] the same origin. And the
mothers--our two mothers—were from the first group.
ANDRADE: Was your family very religious then? Did you
observe the [holidays]?
CASTELNUOVO: No, they were not very — come si dice ? But
they felt their origin. I mean they didn't need to
make--I don't know--to go very often to the — [to Lorenzo]
Non so come dire . Non seguivano i— Lorenzo , aiuta me .
LORENZO: My mother's family did not belong to a temple as
far as I know.
CASTELNUOVO: No, they didn't need to follow the — go to the
temple every day. In Prato, there was no Jewish temple at
all; only in Florence, there was one. Once in a while, you
know. But they felt their —
LORENZO: They had a sense of their cultural heritage, but
they were not particularly--
CASTELNUOVO: Come si dice ? A loro fedelta to their origin,
you know, they felt that they belonged to this—
LORENZO: My father's family, on the other hand, were more
involved with the Jewish community. They belonged to the
CASTELNUOVO: But my father was very — [to Lorenzo]
no costante. II mio padre era fidele alia sua nascita,
la sua gente.
LORENZO: What my mother is trying to say is that he
was very faithful to his background.
CASTELNUOVO: Fedele . Come si dice " fedele "?
CASTELNUOVO: Faithful to his origin. As a matter of fact,
I remember, when we arrived in Florence we didn't know
much, because in Prato we had no culture of the Jewish
origin or the Jewish culture, and so forth. And for some
time, he [my father] took us a professor, a Jewish professor,
who belonged to the Jewish temple, a professor of history.
And for some time this man came once a week and taught
us history, of the Jewish history and faith, and so forth.
And also, together our cousins used to come, the son and
daughter of [my father's] other brother. They used to come
to my house, and we had these lessons of Jewish culture,
let's say. Just to learn, to know.
ANDRADE: Well, in the early part of the century in Florence,
or in any other part of Italy, were Jews treated differently?
CASTELNUOVO: Non capisco .
LORENZO: [translates — inaudible]
CASTELNUOVO: No, oh, no. No, oh, no. No, nothing at all.
Italy has been — We didn't feel any difference at all. No,
ANDRADE: I see. You were about nineteen years old, you
said, when World War I started.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, about. The war started in 1914.
[to Lorenzo] Diciannove , that's right.
ANDRADE: And how did [the war] affect your life in
CASTELNUOVO: Well, we did have the war. One of my brothers
was for some time in the war on the Alps. He had some, not
very bad wound but he was sick or so. Then he was in a
hospital for a while. A first cousin of mine was wounded
very badly, and he was for years-- The Jews went to the
war just the same as the others. There were no differences
ANDRADE: Were you working in a hospital?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, during the war. You know, the men
were at the front or working somehow as soldiers and officers,
and so forth. I was a young woman, and I was working in
a hospital. I was not a nurse. My father had passed away,
but he had expressed a— I don't know — he wouldn't have liked
that. So I worked for several years, until the end of
the war, in a- - come si dice ? — in the office of the hospital
where you take care of the laundry. So for hours I worked
there — I don't know--from one o'clock until the evening.
There were nuns there taking care of the laundry. I remember
I was very friendly with the head nun who was taking care
of it. And we young girls were working every day, all day.
ANDRADE: Were your sisters also working at the hospital?
CASTELNUOVO: No, my older sister: she had been married
already. And the other one, my brother, was an officer.
The little one was too young to go.
ANDRADE : What happened to your father's business after
CASTELNUOVO: Well, after he died, the brother was there,
ANDRADE: This is Uncle Giulio?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. And then there was a very intelligent
young man who was the son of a sister of my father who
took [over] -- come si chiama ? — Vittorio. He was the son of my
father's sister. And he became a very important head of
this, and he kept the fabric [factory] for years, many years.
Now he's not there anymore, of course. And then — my brother
came back, and they also-- And for many years the factory
went on pretty well.
ANDRADE: You also talked about your music training. You
took voice lessons.
ANDRADE: And these were private lessons?
CASTELNUOVO: Private lessons, yes. Maestro Modena in
Florence was a very gifted man, a nice person, and he
taught me. He taught me music more; so I was singing [mostly]
[Claude] Debussy and what was modern music at the time.
And then I had also a voice teacher, but I don't remember
the name, of course. I had several: a lady, and then this
man was very good.
ANDRADE: Did you study the piano?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, piano also. But I was not very good.
The mathematical part of the piano or the music was not
too successful for me.
ANDRADE: But music was very much a part of your family?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I enjoyed the singing very well. As
a matter of fact, I sang Mario's music much; he was playing
and I was singing. But rather in a — not too technically.
I don't know how to say it.
ANDRADE: What were your favorite subjects in school?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, literature, all kinds.
ANDRADE: French, Italian?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Literature — all the Italian, French,
and English, too. Then I read much of English literature.
ANDRADE: What did you think of Greek? How did you like
CASTELNUOVO: Greek? Oh, very much. We read the old
literature very, very much.
ANDRADE: Did you study the sciences and mathematics?
CASTELNUOVO: No. Mathematics I was not good in. I had
all grade A in all kinds of literature. And mathematics
they gave me just to go through, but I was not good.
ANDRADE: How old were you when you left the university,
when you graduated?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I was not too old, because I studied
privately after. Until I married, I was more or less
studying privately. We married in 1924; so the years before,
I was studying privately.
ANDRADE: Do you get a diploma before you study privately,
or after you study?
CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't have any diploma. I mean, yes,
[from the] liceo , but nothing from what is called the
Italian university, no. I was studying privately with
this Professore Vandelli. He was very gifted in literature,
ANDRADE: Why did you study privately? Did young girls not
go to the university? Did girls study at home? Was the
university only for the young men?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I studied privately. I used to go to
the professor's house. As a matter of fact, some daughters
of this professor with whom I studied literature were in
school with me — in ginnasio, liceo — one of the daughters;
so we were friends. To have lessons with this professor, I
used to go to his house.
ANDRADE: Oh, so you were still enrolled in a university?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes, and had private lessons. Then I
left the university and studied at the home of this professor
without taking examinations anymore, no. And then I was
working in the hospital — all this until the war finished.
ANDRADE: When did you meet Mario? What year was that?
CASTELNUOVO: When we moved to Florence, I started — First
I met his brother, and then I met Mario socially, in
concerts. It must have been around 1912, '13, something
like that. We were friends for about ten years.
ANDRADE: So, you were very young then.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We met socially. We went to concerts.
I met his mother; we were friends. We had also a tennis
club together, where my brothers used to come and Mario's
brother used to come. Mario didn't come playing; he was
too busy to play tennis. But he used to come once in a
while, just to relax, to see us, to talk. So we became
ANDRADE: How did your father like Mario?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he didn't know him much, because my
father was working all day away, and then he passed away.
When [Mario] became our friend, he was not there anymore.
ANDRADE: So he never knew Mario.
CASTELNUOVO: Not really, not much. Instead, in the late
years, my older sister's husband, Liuzzi, became a very
great friend of Mario. And Mario used to come almost
every evening; they lived not far from where I lived with
my mother. (I lived with my mother and my brother.)
Liuzzi lived very close to our house; so in the evening,
I used to go to his — during the war years and so forth — I
used to go almost every evening. And Mario used to go also,
and we met there almost every evening. Then he was writing
much music and showing to my brother-in-law, who was a
very good musician, what he was doing. And I was there,
and that's how we saw [each other]. We met almost every
evening there. That's how we became [closer] friends.
ANDRADE: I see. Well, what I'd like to do now is talk about
your husband's background: when he was born and where.
Could we do that now?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was born in Florence. They had an
apartment in the center of Florence, very close to Piazza
del Duomo, in an apartment there.
ANDRADE: So he was born a week after you?
CASTELNUOVO: He was born a week after me. He was [born]
April 3,  .
ANDRADE: Did he have any brothers and sisters?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He had an older brother, Ugo. He just
passed away a few years ago. He became a great lawyer in
Italy. He was head of the — [to Lorenzo] Come si chiama?
Capo di — Well, there were three brothers: Ugo, the older
one; then Guido, the second one, who was an engineer—also
very nice, intelligent, but not so active, I would say, [as]
Ugo and Mario; then Mario, the third, the little one. I
can show you a picture of Mario at that age. [tape recorder
This is Mario in the country. You see this is a
grape [arbor], and he's lying on his [back]. He must
have been nine, ten, something like that; I don't know
the year it was taken. Isn't it nice?
CASTELNUOVO: This is — you can imagine — myself in the
country house. We were up in the hill from Prato to Bologna,
in the Apennines. And this was a lady who was taking care
of us, because we were many children. That's me.
ANDRADE: I see. How old were you here?
CASTELNUOVO: Six, something like that, I would say. And
this is my father. You see how nice. This was taken — I
don't know exactly when--but about late years. You see how
nice. He was very sweet and very-- [to Lorenzo] Bella
f otograf ia , questa . E molto carina — neglio tempo . You
see a very intelligent person. He was gifted, tremendously
gifted. [tape recorder turned off] .
Mario had been over where [Gabriele] D'Annunzio was
living and had been playing for him with a French singer
some of his music and so about that time. I wasn't
there, because I was busy with the children, but Mario used
to go there, and this [telegram from D'Annunzio] came. Now
LORENZO: It's very flowery, Victorian in style. It says:
My dear Mario,
Just the other night the beautiful song of "Fiume"
was sung to me [and this was a song that my father
had written at the time of First World War] . So
then I thought again of your other works, almost
brought with the sound of the new music that you
sent me, borne from the sea, solitary like a mys-
tic island with its roots in the rigorous art of
the old masters, with certain echoes of the
Sistine and all of its suspended people.
I will write you in the solitude which attracts
me with the promise of regained melodious youth.
I am very grateful to the muse and sybil Memmi
[who was a mutual friend] . You will receive a
long, musical letter. Goodbye in the salt and
With an embrace, Gabriele D'Annunzio.
ANDRADE: Thank you.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. He went several times at that time
with this French singer, Madeleine Grey, who used to stay
there a few days.
LORENZO: Wasn't this Memmi Strozzi?
LORENZO: This was Memmi Strozzi. There were two mutual
friends: one was a woman named Memmi Corcos, who then
later married Comte Strozzi, and the other was a very
well-known French singer — actually she was French and
English, because I think her father was English — Madeleine
Grey, who also was a very close friend of Maurice Ravel.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, she was a very well-known singer in
France, and she knew all the musicians. [shows photograph]
This is Memmi Corcos, a friend of Mario when they were very
young. Her brother was a painter.
LORENZO: Her father.
CASTELNUOVO: Her father and — Dipinpi [?] era fratello ,
che mori molto presto . The father was [also] a very well-
known painter. That's Florence, a villa in Florence,
up to Fiesole, the village over Florence — Well, there
are so many.
LORENZO: Fiesole is one of the hills just outside of
CASTELNUOVO: That's a beautiful [place]. He [Corcos] died
before the war.
TAPE ONE: SIDE TWO
JANUARY 18, 19 81
CASTELNUOVO: An uncle [Samuele Tedesco] had no heir.
When he [died], he left to Mario's father, to the family
Castelnuovo, the money he had, what he had, and the name
Tedesco. So they added to Castelnuovo the name Tedesco.
ANDRADE: So this is Mario's grandfather?
CASTELNUOVO: No, it was an uncle of his father. An
uncle, not the grandfather. It was an uncle of Mario's
LORENZO: No, he was a brother-in-law.
CASTELNUOVO: No, la famiglia —
LORENZO: Era sposato alia sorella del sup nonno .
CASTELNUOVO: No, questo Tedesco era lo zio dei Castelnuovo .
Era lo zio --
LORENZO: He was an uncle of my father's who was also in
business with his--
CASTELNUOVO: No —
ANDRADE: Are we talking about Mr. Tedesco now, who didn't
ANDRADE: And he is the uncle of your father?
LORENZO: I'm not sure.
CASTELNUOVO: Era uno zio del nonno Castelnuovo . Uno zio !-
che non aveva eredi , non aveva nessuno . Ha lasciato al
LORENZO: Mother says he was an uncle of my grandfather.
ANDRADE : And who became the beneficiary?
LORENZO: And they carried on his name as part of the
family last name, which was Castelnuovo. I think my
father writes about it in the autobiography, but I will
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, it's written in the autobiography.
ANDRADE: OK, we can check that later.
LORENZO: Yes, we can.
CASTELNUOVO: But that's what it is. This I know because
I read it.
ANDRADE: So the family name then became Castelnuovo-
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. The name became Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Mario was already born, you know. This uncle left the
money he had, whatever he had, some silver, whatever — he
had no heir--and the name. So they joined the Tedesco to
Castelnuovo. Until then, their name was only Castelnuovo.
And so they kept it, and we keep it.
ANDRADE: [to Lorenzo] I noticed your paintings were signed
LORENZO: Yes. Well, legally, my name is Castelnuovo-
Tedesco, but I use Tedesco because it's much shorter.
CASTELNUOVO: And then because in America it's easier. You
know, Castelnuovo nobody can pronounce. Instead, Tedesco
is easier. So people here, they pronounce rather Tedesco
than Caste lnuovo. They don't know how.
ANDRADE: You said you met Mario's family. What were
they like? What was Mario's mother--
CASTELNUOVO: Mario's mother was a very sweet person.
ANDRADE: Wasn't she the one who taught him music?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I met her in concerts. By the way,
we met the Castelnuovo-Tedescos ' mother socially, mostly
also in the Rosselli family. When we moved to Florence,
we knew the Rosselli family — you know, the lady Rosselli
who had these three sons, this tragedy. One died in
the First World War, the older one, who was about my age,
Aldo, the older one. The second, Carlo, and Nello, the
younger one, Mussolini had them killed in France,* you
know, when Hitler — [to Lorenzo] Come si pup dire ?
LORENZO: They were assassinated in Paris in the late
CASTELNUOVO: We were great friends. Let's see some pictures
of Mario's mother. This is Mario's mother, pretty young
when I met her. You see how nice. And this is the father
and Ugo, the older brother, and father, Amedeo. And this is
ANDRADE: Her name was —
CASTELNUOVO: Noemi .
* The Rosselli brothers were assassinated near Bagnol,
France, c. 1936. C.C.-T.
LORENZO: She was apparently quite a good pianist, very
musical. She started to teach my father music when he
was very young.
CASTELNUOVO: Now, as I show you pictures and letters — this
is not family, but it's interesting; so you may be
interested to see. This is the other brother, Guido.
That's Guido in the middle. Ugo, the first, then Guido,
and that's Mario. Oh, and those are [Igor] Stravinsky, old let-
ters from Stravinsky. See, Stravinsky and his wife when they
were here, and old letters we wrote. It's interesting isn't
CASTELNUOVO: See. Well, I keep what I can.
ANDRADE: Stravinsky's letters?
LORENZO: Yes, we were quite close friends. My father
was one of the pianists when Les Noces was first performed
in Italy in the twenties. The first performance in Italy,
he was one of the pianists. Then they met subsequently.
Then, of course, they met again when they came to Los Angeles.
CASTELNUOVO: Here we have the [Ernst] Toch family.
CASTELNUOVO: We were great friends.
LORENZO: Do you know them?
ANDRADE : Yes. In fact, the older boy, Lawrence, used
to work in our program.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, we were great friends. We came about
the same time. They were a little older than we were.
This is a picture when we went — well, quite a few
years ago we went back to Italy — and that's me; and this
lady--you see how nice she is--she lives in a very small
village between Florence and Pisa. She's the daughter of
my balia -- come si dice ?--my nurse. Yes, she's so sweet.
(By the way, I want to talk to her, because I discovered
that it's her birthday this month. We must call her.)
And this is Lorenzo with his first child, look. Isn't
ANDRADE: You look very much like your father.
CASTELNUOVO: And that's his first child, and now he is at
the university in San Francisco.
LORENZO: At Berkeley [the University of California, Berkeley]
CASTELNUOVO: In Berkeley. His son.
Well, life is quite interesting.
ANDRADE: Let's talk some more about Mario then.
CASTELNUOVO: What do you want to know?
ANDRADE: Well, to finish today's session, I wanted to know
a little bit more about the family. For example, is it true
that his father did not know [Mario] was studying music?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, it is true in a way. He thought in
a way he would be [in] other fields of knowledge. But
his mother saw how gifted he was. His mother was playing
the piano, and Mario was sitting under the piano as a baby,
as a child, and started to be interested. And so Mario
started to learn something. Then also he composed a few —
He was eight, nine years old. Then when the father saw that
he certainly was so--he understood that he was so gifted,
how he played, he started to play the piano, and he- - come si
LORENZO: He acquiesced.
CASTELNUOVO: He accepted, and so he could go on learning
piano and playing. Of course he also had to study his —
Mario tells all these stories in his first chapter [of the
autobiography]. So he had a teacher for learning school,
[and a teacher for] learning the piano. He accepted things
as they were. But it is true. But he didn' t— come si dice ?
[to Lorenzo] Non ha f atto guerra alia situazione .
LORENZO: Well, originally, my grandfather really wanted
my father to study medicine, and he wasn't particularly
sympathetic to his becoming a musician. But then when he
realized that he was exceptionally gifted, then he accepted
CASTELNUOVO: He accepted it; so he didn't fight. But of
course he let him learn piano.
ANDRADE : Mario's father was a banker in Florence.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he was in the business and a banker,
I would say.
ANDRADE : When did he start composing? When he was eight
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, he started very, very early, a few
little-- I can write it down for you. He wrote two little--
He says that these few, two, three little pieces that he
wrote when he was eight and nine were with his mother.
Then during the tragedy of the--when we came, they were with
Mario's mother. Then when we left, something was lost. For
instance, can you imagine, all the music I was singing, the
package of the music I was singing, [was] completely lost?
I don't know. We packed. We saved most, fortunately, of
Mario's music, but some things [were] lost.
ANDRADE: But he also studied music in the schools.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Well, he went to the conservatory
[Cherubini Institute] in Florence. He had a few teachers.
Then the most rewarding teacher he had was Pizzetti,
Ildebrando Pizzetti, who certainly was a great composer
and a great teacher, no doubt, in Florence.
ANDRADE: When did he start studying with Pizzetti?
CASTELNUOVO: This is a date I can't —
ANDRADE: He was quite young?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, quite young, yes.
ANDRADE: About fifteen years old?
CASTELNUOVO: Fifteen, sixteen, oh, yes, yes. Exact
dates-- they are there.
ANDRADE: Did he tell you any stories about Pizzetti?
CASTELNUOVO: If you give me the book, I can —
LORENZO: I think he was about sixteen when he graduated
from the conservatory.
ANDRADE: So he studied with Pizzettti after?
LORENZO: Before, I think.
ANDRADE: Oh, before.
LORENZO: I don't know. We'll have to look it up. He
was quite young.
ANDRADE: The conservatory is not a university then?
LORENZO: It's a separate school. It's also a state-run
school. It's separate from the university.
ANDRADE: But you enter after high school?
ANDRADE: I see.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he graduated from composition in 1918.
LORENZO: Oh, he was much older; he was twenty- three.
CASTELNUOVO: He took the composition degree. I should
translate all this [autobiographical writing] : Because
[Mario] had been sick, "[Pizzetti] could very well under-
stand my situation [difficult: school, no school] and was
very patient. He used to see that in a week I could learn
what other boys could take some months [to learn]." Because
he had been sick. I should translate all this to
ANDRADE : He wasn't a healthy boy? Was he sick often?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he wasn't too, too — For instance,
I remember once during the war, when the war started,
he was supposed to start some — like all the young men, they
used to go-- I went to see him in the hospital. He had a
very great pneumonia or something. He got sick; so he
ANDRADE: He wasn't in the military then?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in a hospital in Florence. He didn't
go to the front at all. He was very delicate rather —
ANDRADE: But he talks about Pizzetti in his autobiography,
ANDRADE: Have you read this?
LORENZO: Yes. It's been quite a while, but I could
translate it for you.
ANDRADE: Well, I wanted to end with your-- When did you
meet Mario? You said you met him in Florence after you
moved to the city. Was it before the war that you met Mario?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. We met socially and then during the
war-- Then he came also to see us in our country house for
a visit. Then he became very friendly with my brother-in-
law, the husband of my sister. We used to meet together
almost every evening in my sister's house, which was very
close to my house, where I lived in Florence. That's the
war years, and our friendship grew and grew until we were
ANDRADE: What were your first impressions of [Mario] when
you first met him?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I always thought that he was a great
composer and a great--I don't know — sweet person. We liked
each other very much. We waited to marry because he was
so busy with his working and his composing. There is a
whole chapter dedicated to myself and to our relation- He
thought he was too busy working to get married; so that's
why we waited. That's the only reason why we waited to get
married. But then we saw that there was nothing else to
do. So we waited to marry because he was too busy working
and composing. When you make a family, you have to give
ANDRADE: And you were engaged, you said, April of 1923,
a year before you were married?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, we married 19 23.
ANDRADE: Oh, you were married in 1923.
CASTELNUOVO: No, '24. I don't know the date. Now, wait a
minute. (There is a chapter titled "Heifetz." " Apparazione
di Bloch . ") I don't know. Now, I lost it.
ANDRADE: When did you start singing Mario's songs?
CASTELNUOVO: I was singing all of Mario's music and
ANDRADE : Did you ever sing at concerts, or just for
CASTELNUOVO: No concerts. I took part in some concerts in
Florence in a choir; once when Mario was conducting a
choir, I was singing in a choir — I don't remember what.
There is so much here that I could read it all the time,
but I have no time, because now all my time goes into
answering people who write to me who want to know this
and that and that. That's what I work on all day.
This is an interesting chapter, you see: "La Mia Fede . "
[to Lorenzo] Traduci . [inaudible] di nostro matrimonio .
" Ricordo di Fernando Liuzzi . " You see this is a
chapter dedicated to my brother-in-law, who was this composer,
musicologist, and musician, who taught in Florence. We met
every evening in their house — the husband of my sister.
ANDRADE : The one who came to New York?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, who died.
Ecco . This is a chapter for me. What do you want to
know? Some dates, the date when we married?
ANDRADE: Actually, we can find out later. I wouldn't worry
about it. I think now would be a good time to stop, don't
you, since it's been a long session?
TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE
APRIL 25, 1981
ANDRADE : First of all, did you have any non-Jewish
friends in Florence?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. I mean Jewish people were not many.
You know, all the artists, European artists, American
artists, all of the countries — I mean, Florence was the
artistic center in Italy, much more than any other city,
not only in music [but also] in literature. For instance,
walking in Florence I saw D. H. Lawrence--you know, Lawrence,
the writer. They were all coming in Florence. Del nord,
dall' Inghilterra — (You see, for me it is hard to say the
names right away.)
ANDRADE: Did you meet D. H. Lawrence?
CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't meet; I was a very little girl.
But I remember seeing him walking around, and I was just a
young girl. [to Lorenzo] Come si chiama , Lorenzo, il grande
scrittore del nord dell' Inghilterra ?
LORENZO: [James] Joyce.
CASTELNUOVO: Joyce, yes. He was there in Florence for a
while. They all came to do some work in Italy, teach some-
how — here, there — or have a talk. But most of all, Florence
was the greatest artistic place for musicians and for
literature, for painting also, great painters. We had many
friends, painter friends. And we met them — all of them,
more or less. I remember during those years there was
a place [Antico Fattore] in Florence where all the artists
had a dinner together. I was there, too. I have some
pictures, if I can look for it. I can find them.
ANDRADE: Who gave the dinners?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, nobody gave the dinner. There was a
kind of meeting society in a funny restaurant, you know, in
a very popular restaurant, near the Ponte Vecchio, near the
Arno [river]. And once in a while, all the artists in
literature, in art, and in music met there.
LORENZO: Antico Fattore.
CASTELNUOVO: Antico Fattore it's called.
LORENZO: It was an informal, social —
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. And they met over once a month. I
don't remember exactly, but pretty often. And I met every-
ANDRADE: And you and Mario--
CASTELNUOVO: We went also before marrying. I went there
with some other friends. We had friends, painters--
[Giovanni] Colaicchi. I received a book his wife sent me
recently. He was eighty a few years ago, two years ago.
And they made a big reception, exhibition, in Florence,
and she sent me-- I have it over there. And in literature,
Arturo Loria we have pictures-- I have pictures there.
By the way, there was also a-- Come si chiama ?
CASTELNUOVO: Berenson. You know, Berenson.
LORENZO: Bernard Berenson.
CASTELNUOVO: He had a big villa [I Tati] up in the hills
of Florence. He gave very often big lunches--not dinner
because it was up in the hills. So, we spent the lunch-
time, from twelve until three, four in the afternoon. All
these artists who were coming from around Europe, they were
invited there. And we were invited, too. We went there.
Ugo Ojetti was the great Italian critic. He lived in
Florence, and he had a big villa. He gave also these kinds
of lunches for artists who were coming there. Mario was
always invited, and then after, of course, I went too. So
we knew all the artists, European artists, and also
American artists, coming from all over the world, I would
LORENZO: Who were the people that started the music festi-
val in Florence?
CASTELNUOVO: [Alberto] Passigli. Passigli was of a
Jewish family. He was a businessman, but he started to
create the great musical meeting. And then he created
the--come s_i chiama gli Amici della Musica ?
LORENZO: Friends of Music.
CASTELNUOVO: A society called the Friends of Music. He
then started concerts in Florence, which were the most
important concerts in Italy, much more than Rome or
Milan; everything was there. That's why Florence was the
greatest musical center and artistic center because of
Ojetti, Berenson, and then this Passigli, who was a
businessman; so he knew how to organize things. He was
a great music lover, and so he organized all the greatest
concerts in Florence. And that's why Florence became the
great center of music.
ANDRADE : How did Mario meet these people?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, when those things started Mario was
in the-- He and the pianist- - come si chiama il gran pianista
che vive a Firenze ? They were directors on top of these
people who organized these concerts. There were two or
three: Passigli was, in the business way, and Mario —
Ernesto Consolo was the pianist who had been in
America for years teaching and playing, and then he came
back. He was getting older. And they were the artistic
heads of those organizations. Mario was very young, of course,
ANDRADE: How did he meet D'Annunzio?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, I don't know. Mario met him. I didn't
meet him, no. But I saw him once or twice. But Mario
used to — that's why — he used to go to play at the villa. He
had a great villa on —
LORENZO: I think what happened was my father wrote a song
during World War I which was kind of a war song which
became very popular.
ANDRADE: A war song?
LORENZO: Yes. It was sort of an anti-German song.
I think D'Annunzio picked that up and used that. " Fuori
i Barbari " : wasn't that how they met?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes, yes, when the war started. You
know, now I don't have everything in my mind. If you
would help — You know what you should do to make it real
easy [is] help to publish Mario's autobiography, and then
all these marvelous stories would be known, because every-
thing is written there. My mind is old, and I forget. I
keep forgetting them. I'm so busy with you and with — I
can't have everything [in mind] because it's two, three
volumes; I show you.
ANDRADE: Well, right now maybe you could just tell us what
you do remember.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, well, what I do remember I tell you.
So Mario several times went to the villa of D'Annunzio,
playing; he gave concerts, playing his music. And also,
besides his music, one thing I remember is the French
singer from Paris, Madeleine Grey, she sang many works by
Mario. And Mario went several times to play for her, and
she was singing at D'Annunzio' s house in the north, II
Vittoriale--I think the name was Vittoriale-- before and
and after the war.
LORENZO: I think my father wrote something about this in
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, in the autobiography he tells everything.
LORENZO: But my recollection is that he had written a
song which became very popular during World War I
called "Fuori i Barbari." And then D'Annunzio picked
that up when he was involved with Fiume —
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the beginning and during the First
World War. This started the friendship, of course.
"Fuori i Barbari was the name of the [song]. Fuori i
Barbari means "[kick] out the barbarians."
LORENZO: It was sort of a freedom song.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. It was very — I have the music; I'm sure
I have the music.
ANDRADE : How did Mario meet other composers, such as [Igor]
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you I —
ANDRADE: Do you remember meeting Stravinsky? Did you meet
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, Stravinsky. Well, Stravinsky, of course.
Well, he was for dinner here in this-- He was here in this
house when he came to Los Angeles. He lived here, and we
were here already. He was a great friend. He came for
ANDRADE: Did you meet him in Italy or here in the United
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, also in Italy but more —
LORENZO: I think where they first met — The first time
that Les Noces was performed in Italy, my father was one
of the pianists. Les Noces was scored for three pianos,
and when it was first performed in Paris, it was played
by [Francis] Poulenc and several well-known composers, younger
composers. Then when it was performed a few years later in
Italy, my dad, who was basically trained as a pianist before
he started composing, was one of the pianists. When he
went to Paris — I think it was around 1927 — I think that
was when they first met and established a personal rela-
tionship. Then later, of course, they met again here.
CASTELNUOVO: Look what I have here, Lorenzo. These are
some sketches you made.
LORENZO: No, no, I didn't. That was a Christmas card from
CASTELNUOVO: "A Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco . " These are all
letters Stravinsky wrote when he was here. Look, I have
LORENZO: We had mutual friends in Los Angeles--
CASTELNUOVO: This is a picture made here with a —
LORENZO: --so we saw a good deal of them in the forties,
in the early forties.
ANDRADE: You mentioned that they met in Paris. So your
father did travel?
LORENZO: Yes, un-huh .
ANDRADE: Quite a bit?
LORENZO: Not a great deal, but his music was performed in
Paris and San Francisco and in Vienna. His opera was
performed in Vienna. So he did a certain amount of
traveling in connection with the performance of his
CASTELNUOVO: This is very interesting: there are all
kinds of Stravinsky's writing; I kept everything here.
LORENZO: But when my dad first came here [to Los Angeles]
in 1941 — actually in 1940, before we came out--he had
a number of friends who were Russian emigres. There was
quite a professional colony here in Los Angeles: actors
and musicians, all kinds of people who were basically
White Russian immigrants. Among them was a painter, Eugene
Berman, who was a friend of ours — I studied with him
informally. He was very close to Stravinsky; he did a
lot of the sets for Stravinsky ballets. So through Berman
and a few other people who were part of that group, we saw
a good deal of him.
ANDRADE: I know that [Jascha] Heifetz and [Arturo] Toscanini
helped the family move to the United States. When did they
meet? When did Mario and Heifetz and Toscanini meet?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, in Italy Toscanini started to conduct
Mario's overture very, very early. (You know, all this
is in the autobiography. It's written: the year, the date.)
And Heifetz came to Florence like everybody else, and he
played Mario's Second Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
with Toscanini everywhere.
LORENZO: My dad wrote music for Heifetz and for [Gregor]
Piatigorsky and for [Andres] Segovia, and they would come
every year on tour. It was an established, personal rela-
CASTELNUOVO: Piatigorsky was also a great friend--I have
pictures of Piatigorsky--like in the family.
LORENZO: But when the political situation in Italy began
to deteriorate, of course, they encouraged my father to
emigrate. [tape recorder turned off]
CASTELNUOVO: So, at that time the artistic world of Europe
was completely together, and everybody knew each other. But
you see, all the details are written in this [autobiography].
What I would ask is the help to publish the biography, which
until now couldn't make it.
LORENZO: Well, unfortunately, there isn't a good traslation,
There's only a partial and very inadequate translation, but
there is a lot of material there.
ANDRADE : Could you describe for me your husband's schedule,
his work schedule? How did he work?
ANDRADE: First, in Italy.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, well, in Italy he was — well, it's hard to
say, but he was working all the time, most of the time,
during the day because he didn't have any work, organized
work. He didn't need to work. We had money. When we
came to America, here, with no money at all, because we
had permission to leave Italy openly, but not to take
money with us; so he had to work here. That's why from
New York, after a few months of living in New York, we
came down here, because the friends he had and so forth
helped him to work in the movies. It was the only way to
have some work and make some money, you see. So during the
day he was more or less out of the house working over there
or going to the movie places: MGM and the others.
ANDRADE : In Florence, before he came to the United States?
CASTELNUOVO: In Florence, he was working most of the time
or going out for his pleasure or seeing friends. I mean,
he was completely free. He didn't have any schedule. But
then he was working for himself; so he was most of the time
working for his own work, his own compositions, without a
LORENZO: Well, he was basically a night person. He liked
working at night because there were fewer distractions.
His pattern was to get up late in the morning and do whatever
things had to be done during the day. But most of his
composing was done in the afternoon and the evening. He
would usually stay up till twelve or one o'clock almost
CASTELNUOVO: During the morning, when he was ready, he
could go out, see people, friends, maybe a museum or any-
thing, meeting people from outside who are coming — just
free. And then later, in the afternoon and night, [he would]
work until he felt like.
LORENZO: And he worked all the time, seven days a week.
ANDRADE : But he still managed to socialize with the
artists who came to Florence?
LORENZO: Well, in the daytime he would see people and
teach and do the things that everybody has to do. Most of
his composing was done in the evening or at night.
That was a pattern he worked out.
ANDRADE: Did you say he taught also?
LORENZO: Well, he taught here in the States. I don't think
he did very much formal teaching, although--
CASTELNUOVO: No, not in Italy. But here, yes. His work
was the movies and teaching. He taught everybody in
America. His pupils were so many.
LORENZO: His principal way of making a livelihood was
writing for films and teaching.
CASTELNUOVO: That's how we lived.
ANDRADE: In Florence—what did you mean when you said
Mario didn't have to work? He had money?
CASTELNUOVO: We had money, yes. Mario's family and my
family: we had plenty of money. We didn't need to work
ANDRADE : Even though your father had died?
CASTELNUOVO: Even after my father died, because they
had plenty of money. I mean, we didn't do anything special.
LORENZO: Well, they lived very comfortably.
CASTELNUOVO: We had money to live comfortably.
ANDRADE: After you were married, where did you live?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, in Florence we had a nice apartment.
When we married we lived for a couple of years with
Mario's parents. And Pietro was born there in the house.
We lived with Mario's parents for a couple of years or
two and a half or two or three or something. Of course,
we had a nice bedroom, Mario had a beautiful studio, room
for his own work, and so forth. And the baby was born--
It was a big apartment, beautiful, in Florence, in the city.
Then after two, three years we moved in an apartment
for us. We rented an apartment; we didn't have a house for
us. We rented a nice apartment and also Lorenzo was born
there. And we lived there until we left.
LORENZO: In the thirties they had a flat on Via della
Robbia in Florence. But then they had this house in
Usigliano, which was basically my mother's family's house.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the country. So we lived there many
months, several months, in this country house. I can show
you the house there; it was beautiful. Mario wrote so
much of his works in this place. I can show you.
LORENZO: And then my father loved the ocean; so every
spring they would rent a house below Leghorn on the coast,
and for years they would spend a month or a month and
a half-- come si chiama ?
LORENZO: Castielioncello, which was an art colony, south
of Leghorn. And then later in the summer they would go
up to Usigliano, which was a little town south of Pisa.
CASTELNUOVO: His work was only his work alone, composing.
LORENZO: He could take his work anywhere, and those were
the places where he loved to work.
CASTELNUOVO: We didn't have to stay in the city. He didn't
teach; so his work was only composing.
ANDRADE : When did you start your family? Did you have
children soon after you were married?
ANDRADE: And you were still staying with his family when
you had your children?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, I told you. After we were married,
we stayed about two years with the family, Mario's family.
ANDRADE: And you already had a son?
ANDRADE: Which son was this?
CASTELNUOVO: Pietro was born in Piazza d'Azeglio, where we
lived with the parents. And Lorenzo was born in the other
house after we moved.
LORENZO: My brother's five years older.
CASTELNUOVO: Lorenzo was born six years [after we married]
something like that. And Pietro was born after one year
ANDRADE : How much time did Mario spend with the sons?
CASTELNUOVO: Not much. Of course, he followed them. He
liked them, but he was working all the time.
ANDRADE: Because he was working all the time, who
then managed the house? Did you?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Well, I took care of the house, and
I had some help. You know at this time, it was natural.
Everybody had help. People had a cook. I had help for
the children, to take care of the children, a young woman.
She wrote to me yesterday; I received a letter from her,
the girl who took care of the children when they were born.
LORENZO: We had a nurse who was very much a part of the
family, and her mother had been my mother's nurse; so she
was a sort of surrogate mother.
CASTELNUOVO: I have a letter on my table; I can show it to
you. Yesterday it arrived. And I have a picture of her
here, which arrived yesterday.
ANDRADE: Well, talking some more about the family, did
your social life change after you had the children?
CASTELNUOVO: No, I didn't have to work too much. I had help
in the house. Of course, I had to take care and the
relation with children is different than [when you don't
have them]. But it was natural for me. I don't know
what to say.
ANDRADE : Did Mario have any ideas about how to bring
up children, or did he leave the bringing up of the
children to you?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, we agreed on everything. We felt that
children should be very close, just kept friendly and
openly. They were very — They didn't need an education.
We should love each other and grow up naturally. Of course,
I was more, because he was busy-- But the way I used to talk
to them [was] in a very friendly way, in a very open way,
like real friends--not teach them. No, I never did that,
and that they can tell you. [to Lorenzo] Is it true?
LORENZO: I think so, largely. There was not very much in
the way of indoctrination. I think we were very free to do
what we wanted to do. It was a very permissive
household. In some ways my father was uninvolved because
he was so preoccupied with what he was doing professionally.
But he was also a very warm and very affectionate person.
So there was sort of a dualism: a great, close friend-
ship but also a certain detachment. He was basically so
compulsive about his work.
ANDRADE: What about religious upbringing? [tape recorder
LORENZO: Not a great deal. My father's family were
Orthodox Jews and they were observing-- Religion was a
very important part of their life. My father did have
religious training, and we would occasionally go to
temple with him and with my paternal grandfather. My
mother's family, on the other hand, were not particularly
[religious]. In fact, they were very uninvolved in
orthodoxy and were not observing. So within our house,
the issue of religion was not important.
LORENZO: My father did observe the holidays, but that
was about the extent of it.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, we knew our ancestors were [Jewish]
but didn't take any involvement, special involvement, no.
LORENZO: I think it was more a cultural interest in
tradition rather than an involvement with organized
religion. I think that was pretty much the way my father
ANDRADE: Were you aware at all of your father's stature when
you were growing up in Florence?
LORENZO: Yes, but I don't think I really appreciated the
quality of his work until I was a teenager. I was only
vaguely aware of--
CASTELNUOVO: He was very young when we left.
LORENZO: It just seemed like a natural part of the house-
ANDRADE : With all the artists and musicians coming and
CASTELNUOVO: When we left he was eight, nine, something
ANDRADE: Did Mario want you to study music?
LORENZO: Not particularly. I did study for a while as a
child, but I think my father felt that it was such a
difficult way to survive that unless there was a tremendous
personal commitment and exceptional talent, it was not
something that should be pushed. And I was much more
interested in graphic arts. I had basically other orienta-
tions. It was for me just a hobby.
ANDRADE: Did Pietro study music?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he studied piano in Italy. When we
were in Florence, he liked music, and he started to play
piano with a young lady. Pietro studied piano, yes. Then
when we came to America he was so involved with his school:
high school, then college, and so forth. But he didn't
study any instrument here. But he liked music very much,
and he's very--I don't know how to say it— to follow music,
no doubt. Then he chose psychiatry, which is an art.
That's why he started medicine. He graduated as a doctor.
And then he took psychiatry, and that's what he's doing now.
He's head psychiatrist at Vanderbilt University — which is an
art, psychiatry. Of course, he's very much interested
in music; he understands much. He goes to concerts, and
the children also like music. The youngest is very clever,
and she had some school reports which are wonderful,
unbelievable, beautiful. And she plays the piano. We
gave her a little piano: it was the little piano where
Mario started to play. She has it with her in their
house. And she plays the piano, and she studies with a
lady, with a piano teacher. She's sixteen, seventeen.
ANDRADE : Did you continue your singing after you
CASTELNUOVO: Pardon? Did I continue what?
CASTELNUOVO: Later, no, because I didn't have time. When
we came to America, I was so busy taking care of the
[children] , and Mario was busy with the piano all day.
There was no time for me. You know, singing needs a
continuous exercise, keep the voice on. I was too busy,
and then getting old.
TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO
MAY 9, 19 81
ANDRADE: Let's start talking about Mussolini and fascism
and your experiences. Could you describe some of your
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, of course Mussolini--I
don't know how to say—was not a very interesting person,
was not a great person. When he started to do what he did
— come s_i puo dire ? La gente importante , the Italians
whom we trusted were not for Mussolini. Nobody — artist
or not artist — any serious people were not Fascisti.
ANDPADE : What about D'Annunzio? You were friends with
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was not a Fascista.
LORENZO: Well, yes, he was. I think he was.
CASTELNUOVO: You think he was? No, I don't think so.
LORENZO: I think what my mother is trying to say is that
very few people took Mussolini very seriously. Very few
artists and educated people generally were Fascists.
CASTELNUOVO: No, absolutely, very few. Artist or not artist,
serious people were not for Mussolini, were not Fascists.
I remember I was in a train — I had gone with my
mother far away to the north of Italy because a brother of
my mother, who was a doctor in the military had been sick.
And coming back in the train, it was the first time we saw
some camice nere, "the Blackshirts . " [It was] the first
time I saw them. I remember because this was the first
time I saw them; we only heard about them, that they
had started to use these camice nere, the Fascisti. But
we had never seen them in Florence. So in this train we
LORENZO: What year is this? Che anno |?
CASTELNUOVO: E difficile dirti .
LORENZO: Was it in the late twenties?
CASTELNUOVO: No, no, much before. Mussolini, quando
ANDRADE : The march on Rome was 19 22.
CASTELNUOVO: Late twenties? No, prima di twenty-four.
LORENZO: Early twenties.
CASTELNUOVO: But I still remember this kind of impression.
We looked at those camice nere in a kind of frightened way.
Then they were not yet organized; they were just starting
to wear those [black shirts], the soldiers. So we were
kind of suprised and frightened. I mean, nobody was
Fascisti, the good people, the serious people. But Mussolini
was not so--I don't know how to say — we were not so
frightened by him as we became when he became involved--
when he was united with Hitler. Hitler was an awful German
genius in a way, you know, frightening. So that was what
brought to Europe the great fright.
ANDRADE : How did that change your lives, after [Mussolini]
made the pact with Hitler?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, because we saw what Hitler was doing.
And Mussolini got more and more legato — come si dice ?
CASTELNUOVO: Tied with him. So, he was doing what Hitler
wanted, and that's what happened.
LORENZO: The so-called racial laws in Italy were passed
after the Rome-Berlin Axis pact, which was—I'm not sure
ANDRADE: But I want to know how it affected your lives
since you were Jewish.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, because Hitler started to get more and
more involved in anti- Jewish doings. We heard about
that. Many people whom we knew-- The people who were in
my family- -my brothers, Mario's brother, and cousins-- Because
we could--I will tell you later--organize our flight, come
away to America, but the others couldn't. They didn't
know anybody in America. But these cousins and brothers
and sisters, during the night, they escaped one at a time
the way they could to Switzerland. It was the country that
was free, was accepting, reliable, and the closest.
LORENZO: That was much later. That was actually during
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We heard the Jewish people were more
and more taken and then killed, taken away and never
heard about. When Mussolini became so tied with
Hitler, [Jewish people] were taken from their homes by
night like that and never heard from again.
LORENZO: Well, Italian Jews, after the Rome-Berlin Axis
pact, were so disenfranchised in the sense that their civil
liberties were removed. My father's music was no longer
played. My brother and I couldn't go to public schools,
for example. It was fairly like being a noncitizen. My
father was in the enviable position of having many friends
in the United States who encouraged him to come, and of
having skills that were relatively easy to export. Whereas
it was very difficult for many other people to leave.
CASTELNUOVO: But many other people who had work in Italy
couldn't come out like that. In my family, we were the
only ones who came to America. We came to America because
Mario's friends were Toscanini, Heifetz, Piatigorsky; they
all helped him to come out. In a week, they gave us the
right papers, the American papers, to come away, in a few
days, because they were such great friends. The greatest
and the ones who helped most were Toscanini, Heifetz, and
ANDRADE : Who made the decision to move to America, your
friends or you?
CASTELNUOVO: We, together. It was the only thing we could
do; so we came to America--I, with Mario, I mean, with
my family, and one of my sisters (she's still in Boston)
because she was married to a doctor, a great, very good
pathologist. The others had lavori ("occupations") [that]
couldn't be [exported], but medicine is something the same
around the world. I don't know exactly who helped them
to come. Anyhow, they came to Boston about the same time
as we came .
LORENZO: Actually, I think my father decided to try to leave
Italy in 19 38. But he didn't want to just leave the country
without a visa, because he didn't want to create problems
for his family; so he applied for an exit visa, and that
took a considerable amount of time. Actually, it took about
a year, I think.
ANDRADE : So, there were difficulties.
LORENZO: Yes. But he was able to get it. So then we left
in the summer of '39, which was really just before the
war broke out. But he had made the decision earlier.
CASTELNUOVO: We came here from Italy with the Saturnia , a
big Italian boat, I mean, openly. We didn't escape like the
ones who went out without the right papers, through the
lakes, to Switzerland, like so many of my friends, so many
friends, and other members of my family.
LORENZO: Or some people got tourist visas and left and just
never returned. That was relatively easy to do. But if you
wanted to emigrate, it was not that easy.
CASTELNUOVO: No, it was very difficult. But Mario really
said he wanted to have it, and he succeeded in having the
right papers openly, and we left openly, I mean, not
escape. You understand?
ANDRADE: Yes. You said last time we talked that you had
difficulties. You could not take money out of Italy.
CASTELNUOVO: No, no money at all. They let us go with the
right papers from Italy, but no money. So we arrived in New
York really with nothing. So that's why Mario had neces-
sity to start — But he had already concerts organized in
New York, many concerts. He was playing, and his music
was performed. Then the reason why we came to California
was because to work in the movies, the money was easiest.
And we were a family. The boys were in school. We needed
money, as you know.
ANDRADE: But going back to Italy, before you left, you
said Mario's music could not be performed anymore.
CASTELNUOVO: No, the music was not performed, no. As long
as Mussolini and Hitler were there, no, the music was not
performed, of course not.
ANDRADE: How did this affect Mario? What did he say to you,
to his friends about this?
CASTELNUOVO: About that? Well, my dear, what can you do?
Nothing. The course of the events were so great; that the
music was not performed was natural. So many terrible
things, tragedies happened that this was not the biggest
tragedy, of course. People were killed and disappeared ;
so you can imagine it was a natural thing that his music
was not performed.
ANDRADE : Did he continue to compose?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes, until the last day in Italy.
LORENZO: The first guitar concerto [Concerto no. 1 in D
Major] was written just before [we left] .
CASTELNUOVO: Until the last moment. Besides he couldn't
perform and go and play as he used to do all the time;
so the only thing he was doing was writing music until
the end, until the last moment.
ANDRADE: Did any of your friends or family members have
any problems with the Fascists?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, they escaped. When the
tragedies became great, they escaped by night. Mario's
brother, the eldest, escaped to Switzerland, his family,
you know, in a different way. The other brother was hidden
by some-- Oh, that's what they did sometimes: in some
LORENZO: Catholic convent.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Some priests, they helped the situation.
One of Mario's brothers, the second one— he's dead now (I
will show you [photos ]) --the family was hidden in a convent
for some time. There were many in Italy, many convents
of priests and nuns, and they helped very much.
ANDRADE: They helped the Jewish people.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, they helped the Jewish people as much as
LORENZO: I think even much earlier, in the early thirties,
my father was quite aware of what was happening because
many of his friends-- While he was really not politically
involved, many of the people that he knew were politically
active, people he had grown up with, like the Rosselli
family. These were people who were very actively anti-
Fascist and who had very serious — You know, they were
killed by the Fascists. So he had a very good sense of what
was happening and what was coming. I think that's what
led him to decide to leave.
CASTELNUOVO: Also, Mario's father was helped in some convent
by some priests for some time. He was an old man. The
mother died after a while, after we left. She was very
sick and so forth. So the father was alone more or less
with the other brother who was there. And he was also for
some time--I don't know; I can't say exactly how long — in
a convent, helped by priests that knew the other brother.
I can show you the pictures of Mario's father.
ANDRADE: OK, we can see that later, maybe afterwards, after
we finish talking.
CASTELNUOVO: So this was the situation.
ANDRADE : What about your non-Jewish friends? Did you
have to stop seeing them, or did you continue to see them?
CASTELNUOVO: No, because if they were friends of ours,
they were not Fascist. So we loved each other. It didn't
matter to be Jewish or not Jewish. If we were friends, we
stayed friends also after the events. Nothing changed.
ANDRADE: Their lives were not endangered? There were no
restrictions? They could still see Jewish--
CASTELNUOVO: No, no, no. No, because they —
LORENZO: At that point I don't think there were any
restrictions. In their circle of friends, there were no
close friends who were Fascist. It was not a problem.
CASTELNUOVO: Not at all. Then when we left and the tragedy
became so hard, we were not there anymore. When Hitler
became the master of Europe, we were not there anymore,
fortunately. So we don't know what — Then, at that time,
the Jewish people who were still there had already disap-
ANDRADE: But it had gotten serious already: your sons could
not attend the public schools. So, it was getting quite
LORENZO: It changed very rapidly.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, in the last few months—weeks , I would
say--when Hitler took the position, it became in a few
weeks, I would say — It didn't last--
LORENZO: I don't recall exactly when it was when Hitler
came to Italy. It must have been in '37 because I recall
the preparations and the streets of Florence decorated with
banners with swastikas and so on. It was shortly after
the Rome-Berlin Axis pact and Hitler made a trip to
Italy; that was sort of a binding gesture. That was about
the time that things really began to change.
ANDRADE : I think it might have been '36, but that's some-
thing that can be checked.
LORENZO: I only have the picture in my mind.
ANDRADE: What did Mario think of having to leave Italy?
He loved Italy, he loved Florence--
CASTELNUOVO: Of course, it was a tragedy, greatest tragedy,
but it was a greater [tragedy] to be taken where all the
Jews were killed. There was no choice. It was the greatest
tragedy you can think of. Of course it was. When we
left, I remember sitting in the boat: Lorenzo was very
young, he started to [do] gymnastics with somebody on the
boat, and so forth. But if we had stayed in Italy, it would
have been the end of everything. So we were lucky to leave.
Though we knew that we were coming to America, we didn't
know what we could do. We were grateful to the people who
helped us to come out.
ANDRADE: What about your family, your mother and your
other sisters? Did they stay?
CASTELNUOVO: No, they left also. My brothers went to
Switzerland by night.
LORENZO: That was after the war was in progress, in the
middle of the war.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, they left as soon as they could.
ANDRADE: And your mother?
CASTELNUOVO: No, my mother died, passed away before. She
was not young, an old woman. She was sick. She passed
away at home, in her beautiful home. Besides my brother,
the second brother, Aldo, his wife was not Jewish; so
probably she had also more acquaintance, more people she
knew; so probably this helped to hide. But for the last
months or weeks or so they all left. They went to Switzer-
LORENZO: Well, in the late thirties, there were no physical
threats against people, unless they were politically anti-
Fascist. And so Jews were relatively safe, except that it
was difficult for them to make a living, to live a normal
kind of life. So, many of them chose to stay and did stay
through the beginning of the war. It really wasn't until
the early forties, after the Germans really took control of
the country, that it was very, very dangerous. At that
point, the Germans really began to search out and deport
the Jews, and that's when most of them tried, if they could,
their escape to Switzerland. So that occurred in '42,
'43, really the latter part of the war.
CASTELNUOVO: Cosa dici ?
LORENZO: Quando loro [ chiu ] sono scapati dall' Italia [ alle ]
Alpi — chi sono scapati piu tardi, dopo che i tedeschi hanno
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, my family and friends also escaped at
the last moment, when there was nothing else to do. Of
course just to escape Hitler. That's the only reason.
ANDRADE : Tell me again, who were the friends who helped
you move to America? Did you write to your friends in
America, or did they offer to help you?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, both.
ANDRADE: Who were they? Could you tell me again who are
CASTELNUOVO: Who helped with the American papers?
CASTELNUOVO: I told you, it was Toscanini and Heifetz,
ANDRADE: The two of them?
LORENZO: They were our sponsors, and they were among the
first to encourage my father to leave.
ANDRADE: But they did the paperwork?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. They helped us. I remember in the biog-
raphy there is one note of Mario's. He says that he received
the letter from Heifetz asking what was my age. That's
why, to have the right [inaudible], because that's what
they needed, you know. They needed to know exactly the
age of Mario, myself, and the children.
ANDRADE: Did you and Mario consider going to another coun-
ANDRADE: Always America?
CASTELNUOVO: I tell you, first of all, because Europe was
all one mess. We knew that Hitler was going through all
of Europe. So the tragedy would take the whole of
Europe, what happened. Then America was, first of all,
a great country and far away. So, it was much more helpful.
And our greatest friends were in America.
ANDRADE: Did Toscanini and Heifetz help you financially?
CASTELNUOVO: No, no.
ANDRADE: But you could not bring money out of the country?
CASTELNUOVO: No, they helped Mario maybe to have a concert
or this or that, but not really financially, no.
ANDRADE: How did you survive in America when you first
arrived, since you could not take money out of Italy?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, that's why Mario started to work right
away with concerts, many concerts at that time. He played
with orchestras, many performances. Then soon, the second
year, we came to California, and he had a job at the [movie
studios], so he had the money, cash.
ANDRADE: Where in New York did you live for that first
CASTELNUOVO: Well, a few days in a hotel. Then, we had
some friends living in Larchmont, New York, not far from
New York, maybe an hour, half hour by train, and Mario
used to go every morning to New York, because New York
[it] was just summer, August or something, when we arrived,
and the heat was terrible. The children were sick by the
heat, the climate in New York. We were not used to it.
So these friends of ours, the Rossellis — I don't know, maybe
you know the lady, I have the books here, I will show you
--Amelia Rosselli, she was a great woman and a writer in
Italian, in Venetian, rather. She was young; she was a
widow. She had three sons who were fighting Fascisti
and Mussolini, and so forth. The first one, Aldo, who
was just my age, had been killed in the First World War.
He was a soldier, and as soon as he arrived, he was killed
in the First World War. The second two, by the way, who
were anti-Fascist fighting, they had been killed by
Mussolini. So it was a great tragedy. They were greatest
friends of ours. They were really anti-Fascist. They
did whatever against Mussolini. So, they had escaped, the
mother with--no, no, the sons were dead, all dead. Now,
she had escaped from Switzerland, because they were already
[out of Italy], with one daughter-in-law and the children,
the grandchildren. So they lived in Larchmont.
When we arrived in New York, we met them, of course.
She helped us to find a little house in the country, near
Larchmont, and we rented a house there. We stayed there
until we came to [California], one year and a half [later],
something like that. So we lived there until Mario found
the first job at MGM, at a movie [studio] . So we had a
little money to start. This was very — I'll show you the
ANDRADE : I'm curious: what did you and Mario think when
you first arrived in America? What did you think of America?
You stepped off the boat —
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, we liked it. We liked the people, we
liked the way we were met, and we liked everything. Only
the climate: I tell you, it was August, and it was very
hot; so that's why we went to live in Larchmont. The
children started school. Lorenzo didn't speak English at
all, but he went to school and he didn't have much dif-
ficulty. Pietro knew already — Pietro was about fourteen
years old. He had finished the ginnasio in Italy, clas-
sic ginnasio; so he already knew a little English, and so
he started high school in Larchmont.
ANDRADE : How did Americans treat you as Italian refugees?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very kindly, absolutely. Everybody was
very helpful. Oh, absolutely. Mussolini and Hitler
were just terrible people; so we were only--I don't know
how to say— so everybody was ready to help us. We are
very grateful. We have always been and we are.
ANDRADE : I'm curious: what was your boat ride to America
like? When you were on the boat from Italy to America, what
kind of trip was that?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, pretty good. Of course, we knew that
we were observed by the Italian authorities. There were
some people whom we knew were —
ANDRADE : On the ship?
CASTELNUOVO: But as we left openly, with permission, with
our papers in order, they didn't do anything against us, no.
ANDRADE: But there were other Italians on the ship who were
CASTELNUOVO: Well, there were some friends also, yes, a
great friend; by the way, now he's retired more or less.
His wife died. She was Polish, but he's from Florence, and
he was a great friend of ours. And now he's still a pub-
lisher. Recently he published still some of Mario's work
he received recently. [Aldo] Bruzzichelli . His picture I
will show you. I have the picture on the piano. So, he
was a greatest friend of Mario, and of us. They were on the
same boat with us. They were not Jewish. They were just
Italian, from Florence.
LORENZO: She was.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, she was Jewish, that's true. She was
Polish Jewish, but he was an Italian Catholic. They were
just on a trip for pleasure, I would say, they came to
America for a while, not to stay. Then they stayed a little
longer because — I don't know--when we left something
happened: the war came out. So I know they stayed longer
than was planned. Aldo Bruzzichelli , I will show you. He
still lives in Florence.
LORENZO: He was a very close friend of my father's. I
don't know whether they really intended to emigrate, but
they left as tourists. Then, of course, they realized what
was happening, so they stayed in the United States all
through the war. And many people did that.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. They left as tourists. Then the war
ANDRADE: When you left Italy, did you and Mario think you
were never going to return?
CASTELNUOVO: We knew that we wouldn't come back until
things had settled, finished, and that's what happened. As
a matter of fact, then also we couldn't go back so soon,
because Mario was here working. As a matter of fact, his
mother died; we didn't see her again. It was tragic. We
never saw again the mother and father. So, it was all a
tragedy, but we were thankful that we could escape, because
otherwise we would have completely disappeared, as many
ANDRADE : Well, you're now in America, and I think this
would be a good stopping point for this session.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes.
TAPE THREE, SIDE ONE
JUNE 13, 1981
ANDRADE : The last time we were talking, we were talking
about when you arrived in America. I'd like to know what
you and Mario thought when you finally arrived. What were
CASTELNUOVO: Well, we were very happy to have been able
to leave Italy and that nightmare which was going on at
the time. We arrived in America, and we were glad to
be here. We knew so many people. Mario knew so many of
the great artists and also some Italian people or from other
countries of Europe who were able to come out at the same
time; so we were not lonely at all, no. This is true.
ANDRADE: What was different about America from Italy? You
were in New York. What did you find different, and what did
you find similar?
CASTELNUOVO: Of course, it was different, the kind of life.
Besides, the climate — it was the end of July, the beginning
of August--so the heat was so terrible. This was a very
heavy thing. I mean, the children were so sick about the
heat in New York. They were saying, "Let's go back! Let's
go back!" because we couldn't breathe. We had never
experienced this heat; so it was very heavy. But other-
wise, as entourage of people, we didn't feel at all strange,
no, because we knew many people. Then as New York was so,
so hot we couldn't live there. You know, the big
city was not easy. Also we had some Italian friends,
the Rossellis, who lived in Larchmont.
LORENZO: It's a suburb of New York near New Rochelle.
I haven't been there since the early 1940s.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, about an hour with the train. Mario,
of course, didn't drive; so he had a little train going
up and down.
He had to be in New York very often for work. He
right away had many concerts and [had to] meet people for
his work and so forth. Larchmont was very pleasant. It
wasn't so-- The climate: it was kind of country. That's
why we took a little house there, and we lived there until
we came to California. One year and a half later we moved
to California when we could.
ANDRADE: Were there any things you did not like about New
York, aside from the weather?
CASTELNUOVO: No, no. The people were very helpful, very
friendly. Mario at that time knew all the great artists.
As I told you, Toscanini and Heifetz and so many other
people helped us to come. They helped us to come, to have
the right papers in a week, to move from Italy, to have the
right papers to get into the United States. So everybody
was very friendly in New York and in America.
ANDRADE: What was the difference between New York and
Florence? You said Florence was the cultural center of
CASTELNUOVO: Well, of course, Florence was unique,
and we were born there and lived there. But at that
moment it was a hell because of Mussolini and Hitler and
what was going on. So it was only frightening to be there.
Everybody, all the Jews possible, tried to leave, to go
out. As a matter of fact, many of my friends and Mario's
brothers and my sisters and brothers left Italy. They
couldn't come to America because they didn't have any means
to come to America, but they left for Switzerland as soon
as they could, by night, through the lakes. In a few weeks
or months, when things became really frightening between
Mussolini and Hitler, they [fled] to Switzerland, everyone.
And they stayed in Switzerland until Mussolini and Hitler
were dead. All the people, all the Jews I knew. It was so
terrible that if some old people, Jews, who were sick or too
old to leave, if they didn't have enough help to leave Italy,
they were taken even [from] their beds, and they disappeared
and [were] never seen again and brought to the Jewish
camps. They disappeared and were never heard [from] again.
It was frightening. This happened to old people who were
too old or sick to go away.
ANDRADE: What did you think, going back to New York, what
did you think of the cultural life there?
CASTELNUOVO: It was good; it was a great life. Perfor-
mances of all — especially in the musical field. Toscanini
was there, and he performed also Mario's things. He was
doing the best he could, and he was a great man. He was a
great personality, living there for years until he was too
old, and he had to retire at that time. All the great
artists were there; so we had only admiration for them,
ANDRADE: Was it like Florence again, meeting different
artists and musicians?
CASTELNUOVO: No, it was not. It was, of course, a big--
I mean, New York at the time — As Europe had become;
Germany was what it was, France, the same, in another way,
were all destroyed; so New York was the only place where
there was a great life in all fields and safe, no doubt.
ANDRADE: Did Mario say anything to you about what he
had in common with American artists?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he had much in common because he had
been meeting the great artists of all the world for many
years when we came here, for about ten, fifteen years. He
was already friends with all of them, internationally. At
that time, most of them were in New York and trying to
live there. New York was the only center, more or less,
[that was] safe as possible [considering] what the world
was at that time. And Mario knew all of them. (Wait a
minute. I have a paper where I put some notes last
night.) [tape recorder turned off]
Just a very short time after we arrived, Mario
performed in Carnegie Hall his Concerto for Piano [and
Orchestra], [John] Barbirolli conducting, the Second Piano Con-
certo, and then in Carnegie Hall, in the month of November —
ANDRA.DE : That was a world premiere apparently of the
Second Piano Concerto.
CASTELNUOVO: Also Heifetz performed something in Carnegie
Hall in the month of November.
ANDRADE: My notes say that in November 19 39 was the world
premiere of the Second Piano Concerto.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes. But then in Carnegie Hall, I have
here Heifetz, [Albert] Spalding, and Edward Jones performed
something by Mario.
ANDRADE: That was when you were already in America?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, yes.
ANDRADE: No, I don't have that.
So you were only in New York for a year and a half?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, because then Mario realized — When we
left Italy we couldn't take any money. We were happy to
have our permission to leave with the right papers, but
not to take any money. So it was very hard. We couldn't
live with what Mario could make with concerts. What con-
certs? He was a composer, not a concert performer. So
we needed money to live, with a family. That's why
we came to California. We came to California because
the only way to live was to have a job in some--how can
ANDRADE: In the movies, you mean?
CASTELNUOVO: In some movies.
ANDRADE: How did he start —
CASTELNUOVO: That's what happened. You know, Mr. Rudy
Polk had been a secretary and traveling with Jascha
Heifetz for years. We knew him when Heifetz was performing
in Italy for many years. Rudy Polk was his agent. In 1940,
when we were in New York, Rudy Polk lived in California; he
was from California. Rudy Polk, the secretary of Heifetz,
was a very nice, dear friend of Mario, called Mario from
California, from Columbia [Pictures], and told Mario, by
phone, that he had already made a contract for Mario to
work at Metro-Goldwyn [-Mayer]. Then Mario, in a few weeks
or so, left New York and came to California to start this
work, to- - come si dice?-- to see what work would be and
decide if he would accept and so forth. That's why Mario
left alone. He stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood
for some months, because the children were in school in
Larchmont, and we couldn't leave right away. So he came
alone to see if the contract was good, was working, and
that's how he started with Metro-Goldwyn. Then Lorenzo
and I came about six months later.
ANDRADE : How did he like writing music for the movies?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he didn't like it much, of course.
They were very organized; so they gave him some scenes to
write. He never wrote — only exceptionally later — a whole
picture. But they gave him one scene here, another scene
there. Of course, he learned the technique of the movie,
because he was a very good writer, but it wasn't easy
and it was quite different. He did only in different
movies, one scene here, two, three scenes, never a whole
movie. I don't know how it was, working-- That's the
way-- Mario, of course, didn't like that, but he did it
because he needed the money. He had a certain amount of
money each year, or month, I don't know, [from this work].
ANDRADE: For how long did he do this? Did he write music
for the movies until he died, or did he only do it for
a few years?
LORENZO: I think he was only under contract with MGM for
a few years, two or three years. And after that he continued
doing work on a freelance basis, and he did a good deal of
writing for Columbia and Universal, and a number of other
studios, but it was sporadic. He really didn't want to be
tied down to [writing for films], because he found that he
really didn't need to do it, and he preferred teaching and
composing; so it was always a kind of secondary thing. Later
he did do a number of full films on his own, but it was
never a primary interest or commitment; it was always
He did a couple of films that are fairly well known,
I guess. One was Ten Little Indians , a film by Rene Clair.
I think it was called Ten Little Indians or And Then There
Were None --I can't remember because they changed the title.
ANDRADE: The Agatha Christie?
LORENZO: The Agatha Christie film. Then he also did a film
at Columbia, Loves of Carmen , with Rita Hayworth, that he
did by himself.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, this is a complete work. I have the record
LORENZO: He also did music for some cartoons for UPA and
a number of other project.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, many. He was asked to work for many. By
the way, the contract with MGM was termine -- come si dice
" termine "?
CASTELNUOVO: Ended in October 19 43. Then he worked free-
lance wherever he was asked to this or that. Then in the
meantime he had started to teach, and the teaching became
bigger and bigger. He was teaching all day — that's the
two works — after he was here a while. [Teaching was]
something he had done very, very little in Italy because
he was only busy writing for himself; he didn't need that.
People started to come and asked him to teach them. This
became bigger and bigger. As a matter of fact, he was going
to some movies or going to have some work from some movies
once in a while, and all day from morning until late after-
noon, he was teaching. In the night, he was working for
himself — in the evening until late — composing his own work.
Then there are all the works down in the little book you
saw. He had been working for himself all the time. But
all day he was teaching.
ANDRADE : Who were some of the pupils?
LORENZO: Andre Previn and John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith,
Henry Mancini--a lot of people who have become very suc-
cessful in film. Leon Levitch.
ANDRADE: How did the students know about Mario?
CASTELNUOVO: There were so many students, I can't tell you
all of them. They still write to me. Yesterday, somebody
sent some music. There are so many who are not so well known,
but who have become good musicians. [One of them] wrote me
a few weeks ago: Robin Escovado. He started with Mario
many years [ago] and very successful he was. When Mario
left and couldn't take care of him anymore, he changed. He
was working on computers, machines, different things. He
left music. Now, last letter he wrote me — a few months ago
— to say he was very moved because he had started to work
with music again and compose.
Then during these beginning years [Mario] became
so known [for] teaching that he was asked to have a
special — I've written down--we were about two months
Mario was teaching at Michigan State University. So he
had many well-known pupils over there also. He made a
special course about writing opera. He was called the
Distinguished Visiting Professor. We were there October,
November, December [of 1959]. We came back before the
ending of the year.
ANDRADE : Did he like teaching?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. He liked teaching very much. And
he was very loved as a teacher, absolutely, very. Besides
this Robin Escovado, this one who called was~
ANDRADE: Leon Levitch?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. Andre Previn, of course: he came, he
was a young boy. I opened the door, and he was already--I
don't know — proud of himself, quite a young boy. Herman
Stein also was a pupil. He almost left music, but he was
a very loved pupil, very intelligent. And the one you
mentioned here, of course, Henry Mancini.
LORENZO: [Mario] was affiliated with the Los Angeles Conser-
vatory of Music. And because he was a very good technician
and was very good in teaching theory, a lot of young
composers who were interested in the film field came to
study with him, orchestration, harmony, counterpoint,
composition, and so on.
ANDRADE: So there was that special angle, music for
LORENZO: Well, I think many of them were interested in
cinema, and that was one of their objectives in terms of
a career, and since he was both a composer and a composer
who had written for film, I think he developed a reputa-
CASTELNUOVO: [to Lorenzo] Dimmi i nomi di quelli — II m' a
telefonato molti giorni fa . Lui era un gran violinista
c he e ancora in giro , e la sorella -- E sonavano tutti
LORENZO: Yalta Menuhin.
CASTENUOVO: Menuhin — not the Menuhin — Yalta Menuhin studied
with Mario for a long time. She called me the other day.
She lives in England now. She was here in Los Angeles
for some family [occasion], and she called me. She studied
with Mario. He was very well known and loved as a teacher,
ANDRADE: Did Mario ever say who had the most promise? Did
he have any hopes for special students, or did he think
they were all going to be capable of being good musicians?
Were there any special students that he had great hopes for?
LORENZO: Chi considerava avere piu talento ( presso i
CASTELNUOVO: Well, they all had different talents in
music, but he liked them all very much. He tried to help
them in different ways, all of them. That's why the ones
I mentioned to you were very loved pupils, no doubt. He
helped them. Each one is different.
LORENZO: I don't remember him talking too much about the
talents of particular pupils. But I do recall he felt that
Andre Previn had the potential of being a very strong
composer if he had continued, except that he became much
more involved with performing, conducting. I think he
felt Herman Stein was very talented.
CASTELNUOVO: Herman Stein was very intelligent and a very
close friend. But when Mario left, their love for music
was-- They missed something. They missed much. That's
what happened to some of these pupils.
ANDRADE : Leon Levitch is one of your close friends.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, because he lives close. He calls
me whenever he can. He's very busy. He's still composing
whenever he has time, but to make a living he takes [apart]
the old pianos of other centuries and puts them back again.
That's his own work. He takes the very old pianos and puts
them back in-- Aiuta me.
LORENZO: Restoration, piano restoration, but he's still
active as a composer.
CASTELNUOVO: But he's still composing. A few weeks ago,
he came and [played] me a composition he made in the
memory of Mario, which is very beautiful. He's still
a good composer, besides all this kind of work that he
ANDRADE : What were the contrasts between Los Angeles and
New York? What did you think of the cultural activity
going on here? Was it different?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, yes, it was different. Los Angeles,
especially at that time, was the center of movie work.
There were some concerts once in a while. New York was
the center of great concerts, great musical events,
bigger, no doubt. Los Angeles was the movies, more or
less. Now the concerts have become more [frequent] — you
know, the orchestra--than there used to be at that time,
no doubt. There wasn't much classical music going on.
Now there is a great orchestra and [Carl Maria] Giulini
conducting. That's much greater.
ANDRADE: Did that bother Mario, that there wasn't much
CASTELNUOVO: No, no, because he was so busy, as I told you,
teaching and writing for himself. From the little book,
you see how much he wrote for himself and how much he was
teaching. He was so busy, there was never an empty moment,
no doubt. And the climate at that time was beautiful.
California was much nicer than what it is now: no smog,
beautiful sky, beautiful everything. Now it's much warmer
and too smoggy. At that time it was beautiful. The
climate was so perfect, I would say. No heavy winter
and no heavy summer.
ANDRADE: How did Mario think the Americans accepted his
CASTELNUOVO: Well, Europe was closer; so when the great
music was — There was more activity all the time. As
a matter of fact, the great American artists used to
come to Europe to perform. There was more going on than
in-- But this didn't exist anymore during the war and after
the war; everything had changed.
ANDRADE: I wasn't thinking so much of the American artists,
but the American audience.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, the American audience was quite nice
and accepting, understanding, no doubt.
LORENZO: My impression is he felt more connected and more
appreciated in Europe.
LORENZO: I think it only came really in the last
decade of his life, when the guitar music became more
popular and reached a broader audience, that he had the
kind of recognition that he had had when he was younger
in Europe. I think the forties and fifties were really
very difficult times for him.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, they were. As a matter of fact,
the audience became again more interested —
LORENZO: But there was very little audience for
chamber music and [inaudible] music, and these were
the areas where he had really been most active.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, this is true; this is true. Performance
of Mario's work started again after those years when
Segovia created again the new guitar music. But all the
music which had been performed so much before in the
old years wasn't performed anymore, and they're still not.
I mean the way of concerts and of chamber music changed
completely since the years before the war.
LORENZO: I don't know about that. His orchestral music
has never been widely performed in this country. The
realities of opera performance are very, very difficult,
and it was only in the last years of his life that there
began to be some activity in that area.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, one more thing I want to say: in the
old years in Europe, Mario had written so much for voice
and piano, songs. And the concerts for voice and piano
and sometimes other instruments had many performances in
Europe at the time, before the war. Then this died com-
pletely. Mario had written so much for voice, and this
music was not performed anymore. Don't you see? Now there
are no concerts for voice, in America or in Europe. Singers
you hear only in opera. But they don't give concerts,
chamber concerts. Chamber singers: they don't exist any-
more. Singers don't sing at all in concerts now—not here,
not in Europe. It never came up again after the war.
ANDRADE : Well, there are some recitals, but--
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very few.
ANDRADE: --but the audience doesn't show up.
CASTELNUOVO: There are not great performances. Singers
only sing in opera.
LORENZO: There's a very limited audience, and [singers]
tend to sing operatic arias.
CASTELNUOVO: If they sing a concert, they give only
operatic arias. They don't sing chamber-- They don't
sing [Robert] Schumann and [Franz] Schubert and Debussy,
nothing, in concerts now. Not only Mario's music is dead,
all the music. They sing only operas, which is awful. I
don't like opera pieces in concerts. It has no meaning.
That's what happens now. If you have a woman, a singer give
a concert, she sings only one scene, one piece of an opera.
She doesn't sing the classical music anymore. Don't you
see? That's true.
In my time, we used to sing Debussy like it was-- Now
who hears [Debussy]? It doesn't exist anymore. Nobody
sings Debussy or Schumann or Schubert or Mozart, the
classicals, which is very, very sad, because the best
music for the voice — that's what it was — chamber. Women
used to give concerts with this music. Now nobody hears
ANDRADE: When you came here to Los Angeles, this was the
early forties when you arrived, the war was going on in
Italy. How did this affect Mario and his music?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, very much. We were absolutely-- Terrible,
you know. First, it was so difficult to have news of what
was happening. Then his mother died, and his father was
hidden in un monastero — by some friends — un convento . The
father was alone, old; so he [was] kept the last year of
the war. Fortunately, he was safe, being hidden in this
monastery. The others — the other brother, Mario's brother,
older brother and his family, my brothers, my sisters — flew
to Switzerland, as I told you, by night, and came back only
as soon as the war was finished. Of course, it was a
difficult life, but it was not so dangerous anymore.
Mussolini and Hitler had been killed. Then it was hard to
start again, but they made it. That's what happened.
ANDRADE: Were you and Mario involved in the anti-Fascist
movement in America ?
CASTELNUOVO: No, we didn't do politically. Then anti-
Fascism in America — what could you do? There was nothing
special you could do. The war was going on. But, of
course, we were anti-Fascist.
ANDRADE : Did you have any friends who were active in
the anti-Fascist movement?
CASTELNUOVO: We knew some people in Italy who did, some
friends of ours, the old friends who were not Jewish and
who had not left and who were there; they did what they
could, but it was not easy.
LORENZO: Didn't you know Salvemini and some of the people
LORENZO: There was really not all that much that could
be done. In fact, everyone was for the war. There was
no question about support for the war. Everyone was involved
in that sense. So I don't think there was any major anti-
Fascist activity in the Italian community.
CASTELNUOVO: But, of course, we knew the people who were.
There were a few anti-Fascists in South America that left
Italy, and we knew them, of course, and we agreed with them.
But we didn't work especially-- The war was going on.
LORENZO: But in Italy there were a great many people
involved in the resistance.
CASTELNUOVO: Of course, we knew all of them who worked in
Italy and did what they could as anti-Fascists . Of course,
ANDRADE: How did your husband feel at the end of the war?
American soldiers had been fighting Italian soldiers.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, of course, we were sorry the war
was going on. But there was nothing else left to do.
They fight very well, and I think they fight and went
through the war the best they could, no doubt.
ANDRADE: Did the war in Italy affect his music, his mood 7
CASTELNUOVO: Of course, for some time music didn't
exist anymore, like everything else. But then it took
back again when life began to be there. When life in
Italy started to — Mario was not forgotten, no, no doubt.
TAPE NUMBER: THREE, SIDE TWO
JUNE 20, 1981
ANDRADE : Let's talk about what traditions and what
artists influenced your husband.
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I tell you, he liked very much all
the classic music of all countries. Of course, Beethoven,
Mozart, the great Schumann, and Schubert — I mean, the
classic; he followed the classic music all the time.
He never changed his feeling for modern writing. It was
his own way of writing and the classic. He never changed.
This is what it is.
ANDRADE: You were saying he studied with Pizzetti?
CASTELNUOVO: He studied with Pizzetti for many years in
Florence. Pizzetti lived in Florence, and then he moved to
Milan. Then also when he was not studying anymore, he
listened to him; he liked his music very much. Pizzetti
wrote much chamber music and operas. This you can see;
you know where to find it. It was very interesting and very
beautiful. I liked it, too. Pizzetti was one of the great
composers when we were young, no doubt, in Italy. Of
course, there were the greatest opera composers, but
had been already, many. There were not many great composers
at the time but some, of course, and Pizzetti was one of the
ANDRADE: What influence did Pizzetti have on your husband?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he certainly had. He was one
of the few who influenced him, also in the mood and in
the orchestration, no doubt. Mario admired his teaching.
ANDRADE : Who were other people who influenced Mario?
CASTELNUOVO: I can't think of them now. But what were
the great composers at that time in Italy? Mario was
friendly with all of them, and there were some young--
ANDRADE: What did Mario think of Stravinsky's music.
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, certainly he admired him. It was one of
the greatest of the beginning of the century no doubt.
ANDRADE: But the music was so different.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, it was so different, but he admired his
way, his personality. He wouldn't do the music like him,
but he admired him, and he thought [Stravinsky] was a great,
great composer. And he is. Of course, the greatest
who changed the music of the century was Debussy. No
doubt he changed the music of the century, and Mario
admired him absolutely, and he played some of his music. I
remember I sang--because I was singing at the time--
and I sang what I could. But [Mario] didn't try to write
like him, because Mario thought that each one was different.
Each artist has his own personality, and that's what it is,
what it should be. I mean, he didn't try to copy them,
no, to follow them, no, never, not Stravinsky, not Debussy.
His own way was from classic and the way he felt the music.
He couldn't do like somebody else. That was his feeling,
and my feeling, too. When you have a personality, you
can't change, no doubt.
ANDRADE: What form did he like writing the most?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he liked very much music for singing,
for voice--voice and piano usually. Many great singers
had wonderful concerts and so forth. Then also for
orchestra he started to write. And then he wrote operas.
Now that's too long to talk about. He started to write
overtures to Shakespeare's plays. Toscanini conducted most
of them. He wrote several of the overtures, without writing
the whole opera — overture to this play, the other play — as
he felt Shakespeare very, very much. [In] the overture he
put all the music he felt about the play. And Toscanini
performed many of them. I have records of them. They are
not on sale, but I have them.
ANDRADE: Were the overtures played often in concerts?
CASTELNUOVO: Some have been published, also by recording.
It was possible to find them then. Now, I don't know what
happened. After a few years publishers go away, and they
die, and they change, and you can't find the music anymore.
But if you keep it, it still exists.
ANDRADE: Mario also wrote music to many English poems.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes, many. Many, many.
ANDRADE: Were these songs performed often in Florence?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, they were performed, yes. All the
best singers at that time, English or French singers,
performed them at the time. He was performed all over.
Now nobody, as I told you the other day, nobody sings
chamber music. They sing only operas, which has no sense,
to perform a scene of opera, a piece of opera. It should
be in the opera, not in a concert. It doesn't mean any-
ANDRADE: What did your husband like about the English
poetry and the Shakespeare plays?
CASTELNUOVO: He knew the English poetry very much. You
know, in the little book you received, that you read,
there is written everything he has.
ANDRADE: Yes. I didn't mean which poems. I was curious
what did he like about the poetry? What did he find
CASTELNUOVO: Well, great poets are great poets — I don't
know how to say. I have a great fascination with the
great poets. I still read. This is the last one I'm
reading now, in the evening when I am through. Look what I
ANDRADE: A biography of Walt Whitman.
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. We knew the classic ones, and this is
the last one, which I have not read, and I try to read it
now. I have the poems, and this is the biography. My son
gave it to me, and it's quite interesting. I'm about at
the end of it.
Well, all the great poets are all here. Mario read
everything, and he put to music-- Look all these here are
all the classic poets. He wrote all the sonnets of
Shakespeare, for two voices. In the little books you
find everything — by Keats, by all the great poets. He
admired it. That's why his music was in the classic style.
He never changed completely. He started classic and
developed in a classic way. It was always the same
personality. It stayed that way. He never changed his
nature or his style, never. Nobody could have him change
his personality, no.
ANDRADE : Another influence in his music was the Bible.
Could you tell me more about that?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, there is much I can say. Let's see.
There is a chapter in his biography where he speaks only of
[The following is an excerpt from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco ' s
autobiography, Una Vita de Musica , written in 1955. This
chapter, translated from the Italian by Burton H. Scalin,
appeared in the Journal of Synagogue Music 5 (1974) . It is
reprinted here with the permission of the journal's editor.]
I laid the first flowers grown in my new garden on an
altar and offered them to God and "to all my dear,
departed ones." These are my compositions for the
Truly, my contacts with the synagogue have always
been slight. Yes, I was a member of the Jewish
community in Florence; and, since childhood,
I went to the temple on the solemn Holy Days —
not so much because of inner conviction, but
rather to do something nice for my parents.
"Temple" was the official name, but it is really
not the appropriate word. For the Jews temple
refers only to the one destroyed centuries ago
in Jerusalem. Today, the places of prayer are
just synagogues, "schools of the law."
Despite a certain external grandeur of lines,
the temple in Florence is not really beauti-
ful. The interior has a chocolate color and
is decorated with arabesques, making it resemble
a mosque. However, it seemed beautiful to me
when I was a child. And about midday, when the
sun filtered through the red, yellow, and blue
stained-glass windows, and when the gilded
doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum were opened so
that the ancient Bible — written on scrolls of
parchment, covered with old and precious brocades,
and crowned by tinkling silver turrets — could
be taken out, my imagination flew in a dream
of oriental splendor and I could almost see the
ancient temple, destroyed long ago in Jerusalem.
As for the religious services — they seemed long
and I didn't pay too much attention to the rabbi's
scholarly sermons. Anyhow, for me, the temple in
Florence remained tied to "traditions" — to
memories of my family, to father and to mother.
When I arrived in America, I found a completely
different situation — no longer the small, contained
community; no longer the single temple. Here
in Los Angeles, for example, where the Jewish
population is equal in numbers to the entire
population of Florence, there is an abundance
of congregations scattered over the vast area
of the city. These are congregations, often
rivals amongst themselves and of different rites,
whose synagogues serve not only as places of
prayer, but also as centers of various activ-
ities (both functions useful and necessary) ,
and, above all, places for meetings — recrea-
tional circles where lectures, concerts, dances,
and weddings take place. I am not debating
the usefulness of these latter functions; but
they seem completely extraneous to me. While
I always felt a deep sense of fellowship with
the Jewish people in general, frankly I wasn't
interested in the secondary activities of these
neighborhood groups. The synagogues themselves,
as places of prayer, seemed so little inspiring
to me. They were either as cold and austere
as classrooms, or they were as pretentious and
ostentatious as the movie theaters in Holly-
wood. In order to pray, I preferred to go
alone to the shore of the Pacific or to the
top of a hill. For this reason, although
invited many times, I never wanted to join any
of these congregations (and one was just a few
steps from my home, at the end of the street).
Above all, the local synagogues did not have
the inner meaning, familiar and traditional,
of the temple in my native Florence.
In spite of this, my rapport with synagogues has
always been excellent. I often had friendly
relations with rabbis, cantors, and organists.
And being invited by them as representative —
among the more notable — of Jewish musicians (and
in America, really, there are legions of Jewish
musicians — composers and interpreters) , I often
wrote some pieces of music for one congregation
Before discussing these works, however, I want
to turn for a moment to the first of my syna-
gogue compositions, the Amsterdam Lecha Dodi ,
written several years earlier, in 1936. I call
it the "Amsterdam Lecha Dodi" in order to dis-
tinguish it from another Lecha Dodi in my
Sacred Service , and because ir was written at
the request of the synagogue in Amsterdam. Since
the synagogue was orthodox, I had to observe
rigid instructions, which caused various problems
at the time. Because an organ was not permitted,
the choir had to be unaccompanied; since women
were not allowed to sing, only male voices could
be used; and, finally, without repeating any of
the words, each part of the choir had to sing all
of the text. The text, from a distant age, is very
beautiful. it describes, allegorically , the
Sabbath (the day of rest dedicated to God) in
nuptial terms — somewhat like the "mystical bride"
of the Song of Songs. This was the first time
that I had set a Hebrew text to music, and
because I was a little uncertain about the ac-
centuation of the words, my mother transcribed
them for me with their proper accentuation.
She also made a literal translation of the text
for me. (I still preserve these pages written
in her clear and harmonious calligraphy. The
piece, naturally, is dedicated to her.) But
then the composition had a strange adventure,
which is worth relating.
At that time, I made very few manuscript copies
of my works, which generally were soon published.
In the case of Lecha Dodi , I made only two
manuscript copies. I sent one to Amsterdam,
where it was performed; the other I sent to
Vienna, where it was to be published by
Yibneh. Yibneh was an affiliate, for Jewish
music, of Universal Edition. In the following
years, which were extremely difficult and
turbulent, I no longer thought about the piece.
When I arrived in America (where I brought all
of my manuscripts and copies of all my published
works), I realized that I didn't have a single
copy of Lecha Dodi! in the meantime the
Nazis had enslaved Austria, invaded Holland burn-
ing and destroying everything that bespoke "Jew-
ishness." I thought, then, that the piece was
irretrievably lost; and frankly, I was sorry.
I felt, as I still do, that it was the best of
my synagogue compositions.
Then, at the beginning of 1942, I received an
unexpected letter from New York. It was from
a certain Mr. Dimitrovsky who had been an employee
of Universal Edition and who, after many adven-
tures, had himself arrived in America. This good
and charitable soul had carried my manuscript
with him from Vienna in order to return it to
me. Thus, against all hope, the "Lecha Dodi"
was recovered. Soon after, through the initia-
tive of Cantor David Putterman, it was performed
at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York. This
time, however, it was in a new version. Park
Avenue Synagogue being of the reform rite wanted
the work for a mixed chorus with organ accompani-
ment. It is this version, which is not the best
of the two, that was later published by Schirmer.
Finally let me bring the story to an end. Sev-
eral years afterwards, the University of Jeru-
salem requested one of my manuscripts for its
collection of autographs. I sent them the
original manuscript of Lecha Dodi (the one
which was lost and found again) hoping that
in the Holy Land it might at last find peace.
Let us now turn to more recent works. Without
doubt, the most important of these is the
Sacred Service for the Sabbath Eve , written in
19 4 3 at the request of Rabbi Emanuel of the
nearby Westwood Synagogue. Rabbi Emanuel was
tall, elegant, and eloquent; and, as American
rabbis often have, he had a rather worldly
appearance. (Unfortunately, the poor man died
a few years afterwards in a highway accident.)
I don't know if the rabbi's eloquence could have
convinced me to write such a work if I had not
already had the desire to dedicate a composi-
tion to the memory of my mother (almost as
a requiem for her) . The Service is therefore
dedicated "to the memory of my mother and all
my dear, departed ones." I thought of grand-
father Senigaglia, of uncles. It must be
remembered that this occurred in 1943, and, not
having received any news from Italy at the time,
I didn't know how many members of my family
would be missing. Thus, I felt filled with
But, once again I encountered some difficutly.
Because the work was intended for a reform
synagogue, it had to be written for organ,
mixed chorus, and cantorial soloist — a baritone,
in this case; for other synagogues, afterwards,
a tenor. (I never liked the organ very much;
in my mind, I associate it more with Catholic
and Protestant rites than I do with Jewish
rites.) In addition, in the reform rite, the
text is partly in Hebrew and partly in English
(probably for practical reasons of intelligi-
bility, but, nevertheless, creating a hybrid
element that I don't like). For example, in
the two most important portions, the Shema
Yisrael and the Barechu , the cantor and
choir sing only the first verses in Hebrew; the
remainder of this most beautiful text is
recited in English by the rabbi, generally
without musical accompaniment. I attempted
to avoid this imbalance through the technique of
"melologue. " The recitative is accompanied with
a soft, organ exposition in which themes from
the preceding choral portions are developed.
(From past experience, I realized the difficulty
of "synchronizing" the recitation to the music.)
Another piece, "May the Words," is totally in
English; and two others, the Silent Devotion
and the Kaddish (the former, a kind of inter-
mezzo; the latter, the prayer for the dead) ,
are for organ alone. At any rate, I tried to
remedy these dissimilarites through a unity of
But it was precisely the question of style that
presented another problem. It is difficult now
to know, and even to imagine, what the early
Jewish liturgy might have been (except, per-
haps, for the few remaining traces of it in
Gregorian chant, and through the source of so-
called "cantillation"--which is more authentic
but of whose interpretation we are uncertain) .
The liturgy had constantly adapted itself to the
times and customs of the countries where the
Jews had successively taken residence. Certain-
ly, there was no organ, and the chorus was not
polyphonic. If the liturgy were sung, it was
probably done so monodically — or, perhaps, almost
in a spoken manner.
Since I was born in Italy, I decided to follow
the Italian polyphonic tradition. Because I
remembered a humorous thing that Pizzetti
once said to me with reference to some choruses
I wrote in school, "you pretend to be a Jewish
Monteverdi," and because the choral education
that I received from Pizzetti was more "Monte-
verdian" than "Palestrinian, " I decided precisely
to be the "Jewish Monteverdi" — but, this time,
intentionally. If one considers that the
earliest examples of an Italian-Jewish liturgy
date back exactly to the Mantuan Salomone Rossi,
1587-1628 (who was not only a contemporary of
Monteverdi, but also a friend and disciple),
one understands that, historically speaking,
this was not an absurd plan. (The few pieces
by Rossi that I know are very lovely) .
Having solved the problem of style (almost in-
stinctively) , I completed the work rapidly —
between December 1 and December 30, 194 3. In
its original version, there are thirteen sec-
tions. Yet, in a way, the composition was
never finished. While some of the pieces are
mandatory, others are optional (according to
the diversity of rites, the various times of
the year, and the tastes of the officiants).
Therefore, I felt inclined to set different
texts for subsequent performances. Finally,
in 1950, I decided to write an Addenda to the
Sacred Service . This work contains four new
pieces — among them, a new Lecha Dodi which,
unlike my Amsterdam Lecha Dodi, follows
the reform rite and has but three verses.
The first performance of the Sacred Service did
not take place at the Westwood Synagogue. This
was so for two reasons. First, they couldn't
financially afford to use the large choir needed
for the work; and, second, as I stated earlier,
Rabbi Emanuel had died. Instead, it was per-
formed (as was the Lecha Dodi ) at the hospita-
ble Park Avenue Synagogue. Since then, the
Service has been performed in several American
cities. Unfortunately, it has never been performed
in its entirety in Los Angeles. I believe that
despite some unevenness , the Service is one of the
most pure and inspired of my compositions. To-
gether with the Birthday of the Infanta (even
though in a different direction) it is also one of
the works in which I began to find myself again.
When the Service was performed in New York, some
critics reproached me for having been too sweet
and idyllic. I think that may have been due to
the feelings that had inspired the work. Those
feelings were neither dramatic nor mystical,
but were, instead, quiet and serene--like my
mother's smile. I wish that I were able to hear
it once in the temple of Florence where my dear
ones attended services. For that, I would be
willing to modify it further.
The other works written for the synagogue are
of lesser importance. One is a setting of
Kol Nidre , the prayer that opens the expiatory
service on the day of Kippur . This piece is
little more than a broad paraphrase of a tradi-
tional theme of Ashkenazic origin. Several com-
posers have written settings of this theme--from
Max Bruch in the nineteenth century to Arnold
Schoenberg in the twentieth century. My adapta-
tion (which I never published) is for cantor,
choir, organ, and violoncello. It was written
in 19 44 for Rabbi Emanuel and the Westwood Syn-
agogue, where there was an excellent 'cellist
in the person of William Vandenburg.
A group of Songs and Processionals for a Jewish
Wedding was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly
of America. These excellent cantors were dis-
turbed by the fact that the wedding marches of
Mendelssohn and Wagner were used in Jewish wed-
ding ceremonies. In reality, Mendelssohn was a
baptized Jew and Wagner was certainly an anti-
Semite. At any rate, because those two pieces
are so well known and so lovely, I didn't delude
myself into thinking I could replace them.
However, in order to please these good men, I
agreed to write four pieces on texts assigned to
me from Hosea and the Song of Songs.
The work is comprised of two processionals (one
each for the entrance and the recession of the
nuptial court) and two songs (one each for the
bride and the bridegroom) . In actuality, I
wrote six pieces. I had been asked to set the
songs to double texts, Hebrew and English. How-
ever, after having initially set them in Hebrew,
I realized that the English translations weren't
readily adaptable to the vocal lines. So, I then
wrote another, totally different, version of each
The last of my synagogue compositions was a
Naaritz'cha , a Kedusha , requested by Gershon
Ephros in 1952 for the fourth volume of his
Cantorial Anthology . That the volume also
included a setting of the same text by Salomone
Rossi intrigued me, and I thought: "The first
--and, perhaps, the last — of the Jewish-Ital-
Since then, I haven't written any other music
for the synagogue. I don't consider my two
cantatas, Naomi and Ruth and the Queen of Sheba ,
to be "liturgical music." These compositions
were performed for the first time in Holly-
wood's most elegant synagogues: Naomi and Ruth
at Temple Israel, the Queen of Sheba at Beth-
El Temple. The latter performance took place
at the initiative of the University of Jerusalem,
which also gave me an honorary degree on that
occasion. These two cantatas are the first
of my 3iblical choral works (a genre to which
I intensely dedicated myself) and are remote
from the liturgy, which creates many difficul-
ties for me.
I don't believe, now, that I will write any
more synagogue music. (I wish, first of all,
that my dear coreligionists would finally
reach an agreement and unify their "rites,"
so as not to present so many problems to com-
posers!) If I would write synagogue music
again (and I have thought of writing a second
Sacred Service — this time, for myself) , I would
write it in a completely "nontraditional" style,
or perhaps — more authentically traditional.
It would have a choir that spoke and sang
monodically and would be accompanied, not by
an organ, but by all the instruments (or
their modern equivalents) named in the Bible.
Look at Psalm 150: "Praise God with trumpet,
flute, harp, drums, and ringing cymbals! This
group would be a kind of "jazz-band," as the
Levites' orchestra probably was. Certainly no
synagogue in America, or, perhaps, even in the
entire world, would consent to perform it.
CASTELNUOVO: At that time it was even more inspiring,
more beautiful. Modern life spoils things, even in
Italy. But the beauty of Italy is still unbelievable,
no doubt, because the history of the great arts, of
the great music, everything comes from there, no doubt.
And the beauty of the country — You should go and see.
Mario felt like — Only he had the possibility to express
it in music. I was reading things that helped me to
realize, but he was expressing in his own music, creating
the beauty which he felt coming. His technique was also
very good. He had the means to express.
Each place — When he was very young they used to
be during the springtime, summertime, by the sea in
a certain place. Then we moved to another [place].
By the way, this country house belonged to my father.
Then after we married, Mario used to stay there during
the summertime until we left. And I'll show you [a
photograph] . [tape recorder turned off]
This piece of the Cipressi , piano piece which is very
well known--he played and everybody played it. Look, the
cipressi are here. You see, this is the villa, between
Florence in Tuscany and the sea by Livorno, very close--now
a half hour, an hour driving. You see the cipressi , cypres-
ses. It's a long alley, you know. And when we met, we
met here, because Mario was just coming visiting us. This
is the villa, the big villa and a back garden. Can you
see how beautiful it is? And here was a hill with some old
pine trees--Fraschella it's called. Fraschella means young
ANDRADE : That's what he was writing about?
Modern life spoils, of course, you know. For instance,
there were no cars. The cars have been terrible, because
everything is full of cars, and the noise. At that time
there were little trains and horses and chariots, little —
how do you call?-- carrozze .
CASTELNUOVO: With a horse or two horses, and that's the
only way. And bicycle, little bicycle. I was a very
young girl — ten, twelve — and I had an uncle, a brother of
my father, who used to take us, several children — his
children and us — and go from one city to the other by
bicycle, maybe stay there two, three days. You could go,
but no cars. Cars have been spoiling everything. I
mean, it makes so much dirt and noise and traffic. I
mean, they have spoiled the ways, the cars — that's completely,
ANDRADE: You were saying Mario's music was so intercon-
nected with places in Italy. What happened when he came
to the States? Did his music change?
CASTELNUOVO: The music didn't change. The music kept the
country, I would say, the meaning and the memory of the
places. Nothing was even nicer. The memory is there.
ANDRADE: You were in the States for how many years before
you visited Italy?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, I remember — everything is written in the
biography — we couldn't go too soon. By the way, after a few
years, when the war finished, we couldn't go right away.
After a few years, when the war was over, we had some work
here to become citizens. We had some difficulties, which
was strange, because Mario, when the war was over, had
many invitations from Italy to go back. They offered him
to teach at this conservatory and that conservatory; so
there was much correspondence. And that correspondence
at that time was seen, followed by the--how can I say?
— by the police--no, not police — by the Americans. You
know, the letters were still checked. Our correspondence
was quite nice, but things were offered. But Mario had
started here so much work and teaching; and so we didn't
feel like going back like that immediately, because our
life in Italy had changed completely. So we felt like
staying a little longer and seeing. Mario had much to do
So at that time, we had some discussion about our
citizenship. I remember once we had--how can I say?--here
in Los Angeles a section where we were supposed to discuss
our papers for citizenship. Mario was asked what he intended
to do, you know, very kindly. Then I was asked, "What will
you do if your husband will go back to Italy? What will
And I said, "I wouldn't do anything different. We
will discuss what is the best thing for the family — not for
one or the other — for the family to stay or to go back, and
I would do what he will do. We will decide together and do
And then the judge said, "OK, let her stay here."
Then we had the papers of citizenship, and we're still
here. And we became American citizens. There was no
difficulty at all. I answered what was true. My children
were in school. They were young then. Then Pietro--
Lorenzo was young, of course--Pietro was called into the
Army- -I don't know exactly what--and he was for some time
in Alaska. There is a picture of him dressed like — I
will show it to you.
ANDRADE : Show me later.
CASTELNUOVO: He had been in the army for one year or two.
Lorenzo, no never did it.
ANDRADE: What did you and Mario think about becoming
CASTELNUOVO: Well, it was natural. I mean, America had
accepted us, very friendly, and we were friendly with
everybody. We admired the country, no doubt, without any
exceptions. Each country has its own-- We loved in all
respects the country, and we were happy to stay. And we
were free to go to Italy. As a matter of fact, we used
to go every other year and during the summer very often.
We had some trips through Spain. But then we came here.
This was during the summer, during the vacation, I would
say. But then we came here when school started, when work
ANDRADE: What was Italy like after the war, when you first
CASTELNUOVO: Well, much had been spoiled and changed and
needed money and needed to be — But this is politics. We
couldn't do anything. They had great difficulties. This
ANDRADE: How did the changes affect Mario?
CASTELNUOVO: Well, he was very sorry, of course, when sad
things happened, when difficulties of the politics happened,
but there was nothing we could do. But he was very fond of
Italy all the time. Nothing changed. We were sorry when
sad things happened, this is no doubt. We felt it very
much. I still do. When I see news from Italy, it's the
first thing I read. I don't care so much for France as
much I feel for Italy, no doubt. It's still our country.
We still have many of the family — sisters, I mean, descen-
dants from the sisters and brothers, nephews and things like
that- -we still have in Florence and in Rome, because my
older sister lived in Rome. So some children of hers are
still in Rome .
ANDRADE: Is Mario's music still being played in Italy today?
CASTELNUOVO: Some, yes. There isn't much going on now,
but still, no doubt, played. Not less than in other
countries. Now it is not performed as much as it used to
be at that time, because things change. Then the tragic
thing is that editors, publishers — you know what they do--
they let the music sleep there, or they give it to somebody
else. So it's not cared [for] the way it should be, music,
after some years of some publishing, because publishers
change. That's what happened all over.
ANDRADE : What is the International Castelnuovo-Tedesco
CASTELNUOVO: This Dr. Nick Rossi, who knew Mario, was
here in some music department teaching in some public
school in Los Angeles. He met Mario — I don't know how —
he studied also with him. He met him here, and they became
friends. Then he [organized] this Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Society. But, now, he wrote me some months ago. He did
this big work of the catalog, which has been and is still
very useful, no doubt, because people go there and look
and they find almost everything. There are very few mistakes.
Everything is cataloged: what has been written, what has
been published, not published, what you can find. As a
matter of fact, people write to me that they looked in the
catalog — they found this and that — if I can send music.
That's what I'm doing all the time. I'm sending music from
my files to the people who look for that and can't find it
from publishers. Now this [Rossi is at the] university in
New York, La Guardia [Community College] in New York. He used
to make concerts, perform Mario's music, and publish also,
ANDRADE: So the society tried to give performances of the
CASTELNUCVO: Yes, the society had all the members.
Members of the society received letters about what
was going on, what had happened during that year.
ANDRADE : Do you know how many members there are in the
CASTELNUOVO: No, I don't know.
ANDRADE: But it's all over the country or all over the
CASTELNUOVO: All over the country and other countries,
international. You can write to him if you want. He will
ANDRADE: I think [the address] is in the catalog.
CASTELNUOVO: No, it has changed. I'll give you his last
ANDRADE: I think I'd like to write him.
CASTELNUOVO: It has changed. He has moved. He's still in
New York, not far. I'll give you the address. Or you can
write at the university.
ANDRADE: Last November, you went to Nashville, Tennessee,
and one of your husband's works was being played.
CASTELNUOVO: It was the Concerto for Guitar.
ANDRADE: How often is that played here in the United States?
CASTELNUOVO: Pretty often. It was performed here also
ANDRADE: At the Ambassador Auditorium.
CASTELNUOVO: Were you there?
ANDRADE: In February?
CASTELNUOVO: Not long ago, somebody wrote me they would
like to have a concert somewhere here in California.
ANDRADE: Do they ask you for permission each time?
CASTELNUOVO: No, no, because it's published.
ANDRADE: They invite you.
CASTELNUOVO: Just to let me know if I can go.
ANDRADE: How do you like the performances of your husband's
CASTELNUOVO: Some are better; sometimes not everything is
perfect. I try to encourage, to keep alive [the music]. I
always try to do that.
ANDRADE: Is Leon Levitch helping you with your correspondence'
CASTELNUOVO: He wanted to. He was a very affectionate
pupil and admiring. He means good. He's very gifted, very.
He knows much. But he is very busy.
ANDRADE: What other kinds of correspondence do you get?
You say people write to you often about your husband's works.
Is it to get copies of works that were not published?
CASTELNUOVO: Yes. I just sent to San Francisco yesterday
a big envelope. [tape recorder turned off]
ANDRADE: So most of the requests are from music students?
CASTELNUOVO: Young people who want to perform and like
it, who have heard something and like it and want to
perform. Then they write to me to have this and that;
so I had all copies made. If I have original manuscripts
of some old copies, I keep them. I always make new
copies to send away. I don't give away any [manuscripts].
ANDRADE: Do you refuse to give copies to anybody, or do
you give copies to anyone who asks? Do you say yes to every-
CASTELNUOVO: I try to, but when I think somebody is really
interested, if they take the trouble to write to me about
this and that, it means that they are interested in
performing and like the music, and then I say yes. When
you like music and you take the trouble to write, it means
that they feel it. That's what I do.
ANDRADE: One last question: Before we started taping this
morning, you were telling me about "Fuori i Barbari , " the
political song. Did Mario write other political songs?
CASTELNUOVO: No. It was the people who were fighting in
the streets. His brother wrote [the lyrics to] this little
music, and it was sung in the streets, around the city.
All our friends felt politically in a certain direction;
nobody was Mussolini's follower, nobody.
ANDRADE: So that was the only political song he wrote?
CASTELNUOVO: Oh, yes. This was very popular in the city.
ANDRADE: And his brother wrote the words?
CASTELNUOVO: His brother wrote the words, yes. He was
the older son, very fine. He was a great lawyer in
Italy. His last years he was head of the — I don't know
exactly where — in Italy, like supreme court, something
like that in Italy.
ANDRADE: This is Guido or Ugo?
CASTELNUOVO: Ugo. Ugo was the oldest. He was a very
intelligent and very wonderful person, and very cultured
His last years in Italy he was something like a supreme
court [justice] .
ANDRADE: Mrs. Castelnuovo-Tedesco , thank you very much.
CASTELNUOVO: OK, I try to do my best.
ANDRADE: Thank you very much.
And Then There Were
None , 74
Antico Fattore, Florence,
Barbirolli, John, 71
Beethoven, Ludwig, van,
Berman, Eugene, 38
Beth-El Temple, 97-98
Bloch, Ernst, 29
Bruch , Max, 9 6
Bruzzichelli , Aldo,
Camici nere (Blackshirts) ,
Cantors Assembly of
America, 9 7
Carnegie Hall, New York,
in-law) , 9, 20 , 22,
24-26, 42-43, 46,
56, 65, 83
in-law) , 16 , 23 ,
Lorenzo (son) ,
21, 24, 67, 73,
-childhood and edu-
cation, 42-47, 54, 57,
-emigration from Italy,
Cas te lnuovo-Tedes co ,
-autobiography ( Una
Vita de Musica ) , 21,
25, 27-30, 35-36, 39,
■composer, 39-43, 48,
55, 75, 79, 88, 90-
- Addenda to the Sacred
Service , 96
-"Amsterdam Lech a
Dodi ," 92-94, 96
- Birthday of the
Infanta , 96
- Cipressi , 9 9
-Concerto for Guitar,
-Concerto for Piano and
-Concerto no. 1 in
D Major, 55
-"Fuori i Barbari , "
- Kol Nidre , 96
- Naaritz ' cha , 9 7
- Naomi and Ruth , 9 7
- Queen of Sheba , 9 7
- Sacred Service for
the Sabbath Eve , 92,
-Second Concerto for
Violin and Orchestra,
-Second Piano Concerto,
- Songs and Processionals
for a Jewish Wedding ,
-concertizing, 54, 61,
-courtship and marriage,
-emigration from Italy,
39-40, 51-55, 58-61,
64, 65, 68, 71, 93
-family (of origin) , 8-9
-Jewish liturgical music,
-last name, derivation
-manuscripts, 26, 104,
-member, Florentine art
community, 31-32, 34
-motion picture scores,
-move to Los Angeles,
38, 61-63, 68, 72
-music for guitar, 80-81,
-music for voice, 13, 29,
35, 81, 88-89, 92-98
-performances of his
music, 37-38, 54-55,
70-71, 80-81, 88-89,
-published scores, 64,
88, 93, 103-104
-return to Italy, 100-102
-teacher, 41, 74-78
-U.S. citizenship, 101-
9, 22-26, 42-43,
46, 56, 65, 83,
(son) , 67, 72, 102
-childhood and education,
42-48, 54, 57, 63
-emigration form Italy,
16, 22-23, 55, 83,
Colaicchi, Giovanni, 32
Collegio Cicognini, Prato,
Columbia Pictures, 73
Consolo, Ernesto, 34
17-18, 34-36, 49
Debussy, Claude, 12, 30,
Dimitrovsky, / 9 3
Ephros, Gershon, 97
- Cantorial Anthology , 9 7
Escovado, Robin, 75-76
Florence, Italy, 5-6, 16,
19, 25-30, 40-42,
-art community, 31-34,
-fascism, rise of, 50-60
-Jewish community, 9-10
Forti, Aldo (brother),
4, 12, 15, 58-59
Forti, Alfredo (father),
1-3, 6, 9-12, 15,
42, 46, 58-59
Forti, Giorgio (brother) ,
4, 12, 58-59
Forti, Giulio (uncle),
Forti, Nella (sister), 4,
Forti, Piera (sister),
4-5, 53, 58-59
Giulini, Carl Maria, 79
Goldsmith, Jerry, 75
Grey, Madeleine, 18, 35
Heifetz, Jascha, 29, 38-39,
52, 60-61, 68, 71-72
Hitler, Adolph, 22, 50-61
passim, 64, 69, 83
Jones, Edward, 71
Journal of Synagogue
Music , 90
Joyce, James, 31
Keats, John, 90
Lawrence, D. H., 31
Levitch, Leon 75-76, 78-
Liuzzi, Fernando (brother-
in-law) , 3-4, 12,
Liuzzi, Paola Forti (sister)
Loria, Arturo, 32
-music community, 79
Los Angeles Conservatory
of Music, 76
Loves of Carmen , 7 4
Mancini, Henry, 75-76
Mendelssohn, Felix, 97
Menuhin, Yalta, 77
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) ,
40, 63, 72-74
Michigan State University,
Modena, , 12-13
Monteverdi, Claudio, 95
Mozart, Wolfgang, 82, 86
Mussolini, Benito, 22,
49-52, 54, 62, 64,
69, 83, 107
-art and music commu-
Ojetti, Ugo, 33-34
Park Avenue Synagogue,
New York City,
Passigli, Alberto, 33-34
Piatigorsky, Gregor, 39,
26-28, 86, 95
Polk, Rudy, 7 2
Poulenc, Francis, 37
Prato, Italy, 1-2, 5-7,
Previn, Andre, 75-76, 78
Putterman, David, 9 3
Rome-Berlin Axis, 51-52,
Rosselli, Amelia, 22, 62
Rosselli family, 22, 56,
Rossi, Nick, 104-105
Rossi, Salomone, 95-96, 97
Saturnia (ship) , 53, 58,
Scalin, Burton H., 90
Schirmer (music publisher) ,
Schubert, Franz, 82, 86-87
Schumann, Robert, 82, 86
Segovia, Andres, 39, 81
Shakespeare, William, 88-90
Spalding, Albert, 71
Stein, Herman, 76, 78
Stravinsky, Igor, 23,
- Noces , Les , 23, 37
Stravinsky, Vera, 23
Strozzi, Memmi Corcos ,
-as refuge for Jews,
51, 53, 55, 59-60, 62,
Tedesco, Samuele, 20-21
Temple Israel, 9 7
Ten Little Indians , 74
Toch, Ernst, 23-24
Toscanini, Arturo, 38-39,
52, 60-61, 68-69, 88
-as refuge for Jews,
38, 51-53, 61, 63-68,
Universal Edition (music
publisher) , Vienna,
Universal Pictures, 73
University of Jerusalem,
Vandelli, , 14
Vandenburg, William, 97
(mother) , 1, 3, 15
Wagner, Richard, 97
Westwood Synagogue, 94,
Williams, John, 75
World War I, 5-18 passim,
World War II, 51-52, 60,
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